Las Vegas, NV — For a brief moment this week, Giga Chikadze flirted with a title fight.
When Max Holloway dropped out of what was then the UFC 272 main event against Alexander Volkanovski, Chikadze’s name was one of the first to come up as a replacement. Of course, he still had business to attend to in the UFC Vegas 46 main event this Saturday, but a win could have landed him the title shot.
Instead, the fight moved to UFC 273 in April, with The Korean Zombie stepping in for Holloway. During the UFC Vegas 46 media day on Wednesday, Chikadze (14-2) addressed the situation.
“I don’t know. It made me a little bit upset, but I have things to do,” Chikadze admitted, speaking to media outlets including Cageside Press. “I’m here for my life opportunity, so let’s talk about that.”
“It doesn’t change my attention about this fight. I know that when I finish the guy I’m facing right now, ranked number five, I’m the next [for the belt],” Chikadze added. “Even if somebody is going to fight for the title, the winner’s going to fight me. I’m standing right there, waiting for my chance. Let’s see what happens.”
As much as the Georgian featherweight wanted to keep the focus on his fight with Calvin Katter, however, there was simply no escaping the title picture question. Asked about Volkanovski’s decision to fight The Korean Zombie, Chikadze replied that the “little champ” was “taking the easy tasks.”
“Korean Zombie has probably like what, from the last seven fights, he’s 4-3? I’m on a roll. I’m 7-0 since I got into the UFC. So how can you avoid me?” Chikadze questioned. “There’s a reason why he’s avoiding me, and I understand that. He’s fighting the guy who’s already dead, he’s a zombie, and I’m here, new guy, new blood, new dog, ninja, and I deserve to be standing right there.”
As for the idea of Holloway returning and getting a title shot ahead of him, Chikadze isn’t even sure the Hawaiian is interested. “To be honest with you, what I believe, Max Holloway wants to fight Conor McGregor, and I think he’s waiting for him. I don’t know, that’s my feeling. Definitely, that’s a big payday for him.”
When it comes to Kattar, who Chikadze will face Saturday night in Las Vegas, “he has some good hands. Strong. He’s a knockout power guy. That’s why I give him some credit.” Chikadze appears to be a fan of his opponent’s finishing ability — and durability. “He finishes guys. Some people throw 500 punches and cannot finish the guy. This guy can take 500 punches and keep moving forward, and usually he finishes guys. That’s why this fight excites me. He’s never been broken, he’s never been knocked out and knocked down. It’s a challenge to me.”
Asked about Kattar taking a year off after his loss to Max Holloway, Chikadze agreed with the move in theory — but noted that he probably couldn’t do that himself. “I think he did the smart decision. Maybe not the whole year, but I think at least nine months. It’s very important,” Chikadze opined. “I don’t know how hard he was hit, also. If it was me, probably I would come back earlier, because I could not live, I could not live with all the people saying and talking about you. But maybe he’s in the best shape right now. He experienced five rounds with one of the great featherweights. Let’s see, let’s see Saturday what type of Calvin is going to show up.”
Giga Chikadze faces Calvin Kattar in the main event of UFC Vegas 46 (UFC on ESPN 32) this Saturday, January 15 at the Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. The card airs live on ESPN in the U.S. More coverage from Wednesday’s media day can be found below.