A brief exchange on social media seems to have left Giga Chikadze feeling disrespected by featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski. The former kickboxing talent thinks Volkanovski could be avoiding a fight with him in light of recent events.
The Australian City Kickboxing star was expected to return and defend his belt in March against Max Holloway in a trilogy fight scheduled for UFC 272, but that bout was canceled just as soon as it was announced. Holloway reportedly re-aggravated an injury during training and was forced to withdraw, which meant Volkanovski needed a new opponent. A slew of replacements was considered, including former two-division champion Henry Cejudo, but it is now being reported that the ‘Korean Zombie’ Chan Sung Jung could be stepping in for the title shot.
That report appears to have frustrated Chikadze. And upon hearing it, he took to Twitter to express his disdain for the prospective fight. Volkanovski responded to the Georgian and reminded him of his upcoming Octagon appearance on Saturday. Chikadze took umbrage with the suggestion that he was fighting for a higher rank rather than a title shot, considering just how much he has worked to vault himself into contention.
All respect bro but your fighting for rank #5 next week….See you soon!!
— Alex Volkanovski (@alexvolkanovski) January 8, 2022
Chikadze spoke with Damon Martin of MMA Fighting and sent a message to Volkanovski.
“This guys doesn’t even know what he’s talking about,” said Chikadze. “There is no respect if you reply to me like this. You know what respect is? Whatever I deserve, I want everyone to mention. I have a seven-fight win streak, I’m fighting my eighth fight. Come on, man. I deserve this shot for a long time.
“I’m not just a regular guy,” continued Chikadze. “I come from a long, long, long [martial arts] background. I did not take this as a respectful answer to me. My time is going to come and it’s coming. They cannot avoid me. In this sport, you can jump in and take an easy task but you know I’m coming. You know they gonna run. I’ll catch them all. Step by step, I’ll catch them all.”
@alexvolkanovski The chump Picking up all the easiest link in a division Zombie and specially Rodriguez he’s suck I will handle my business on Saturday and I’m gonna kick your midget head ass back Singapore or Ireland whatever you from@danawhite @seanshelby
— GIGA CHIKADZE (@giga_chikadze) January 8, 2022
Chikadze also explained why he believes Volkanovski selected Jung over him as an opponent. To put it simply, the No. 8 ranked contender sees TKZ as the easier fight for the champion.
“I know the champ — the chump — is trying to have an easy task,” said Chikadze. “Probably the ‘Korean Zombie,’ — no disrespect [in the] top 10, everybody is tough, but I believe I already beat one of the strongest guys in the division [Edson Barboza] the last time. And now the easiest one in all these guys is the ‘Korean Zombie’ for me. That’s how I see the champ is looking to get this fight. Because he wants to go with the easy way.”
With a win over Kattar, Chikadze can continue to make his case for a championship opportunity. The 33-year-old has won all seven of his UFC fights, with his last three earning him ‘Performance of the Night’ bonuses.
If a fight with Volkanovski materializes, then Chikadze favors himself as the one to dethrone him.
“Honestly for me, I think that’s the easy fight in the top 10,” said Chikadze. “This guy cannot even reach me when we stand together. What’s he going to do? Some guys have good submissions. Some guys have good punches or technique. What does he have against me? Nothing.”
In the meantime, Chikadze meets Calvin Kattar in the headliner of UFC Vegas 46.