Giga Chikadze knows if that he’s successful against Calvin Kattar in the UFC Vegas 46 main event on Saturday night, he should then move on to a title fight against Alexander Volkanovski in March. But that may not actually happen.
With Max Holloway injured, Volkanovski is currently awaiting word on a new opponent for his expected return at UFC 272, and just about everyone in the 145-pound division along with former two-division champion Henry Cejudo have volunteered for duty. For his part, Volkanovski has seemingly already decided that “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung is the best available candidate. But Chikadze believes the reigning featherweight champion is just hand-picking the competition he’s best suited to defeat.
“I know the chump is trying to have an easy task,” Chikadze told MMA Fighting. “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 the last time [Edson Barboza], 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 the easy way.”
Just after the news broke that Holloway was out of the fight in March, Chikadze volunteered his services, which earned a reply from Volkanovski on Twitter.
“All respect, bro, but you’re fighting for rank No. 5 next week,” Volkanovski said in response. “See you soon.”
All respect bro but your fighting for rank #5 next week….See you soon!!
— Alex Volkanovski (@alexvolkanovski) January 8, 2022
That didn’t sit too well with Chikadze, especially when Volkanovski mentioned the word respect while simultaneously discounting him as a legitimate challenge to the title.
“This guy doesn’t even know what he is talking about,” Chikadze said. “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, I deserve this shot for a long time.
“I’m not just a regular guy. 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.”
While he fully understands that none of this will matter if he doesn’t get through Kattar this weekend, Chikadze doesn’t understand why there’s such a rush to give Volkanovski an opponent right away, rather than at least waiting until UFC Vegas 46 is finished.
The only explanation Chikadze can theorize is that Volkanovski sees him as a much bigger threat than “The Korean Zombie” so he wants to sign up for that fight as soon as possible.
“It’s an easier task for them, for Volkanovski,” Chikadze said. “I’ve been fighting these type of guys all of my life and making my life with that. He knows I’m for him the hardest and strongest fight. That’s why he’s trying to avoid me. I understand. He wants to stay safe and make money but I’m here to become a champion. I feel like I’m ready to take over everything and I will take over everything.
“I have a mission for next week, but I know what I’m going to do. It’s just going to be me there and get the ‘W.’ They just need to wait for me for one week.”
As of now, all signs are pointing towards Jung getting the title fight after going 3-1 in his past four fights, with his only loss coming in a lopsided decision to Brian Ortega.
Because he fights so soon, Chikadze knows he’ll be in better condition than Jung could be with a short-notice opportunity, considering that Jung’s last fight took place in June.
Chikadze also relishes the chance to compete more often, so in his mind, fighting Kattar on Saturday and then facing Volkanovski six weeks later would be nothing new to him.
“You give me two months for preparation, I’m going to smash everyone,” Chikadze said. “In two months, I’ll fight every weekend. This is what I texted Sean [Shelby] last night. Let me fight every weekend. I’ll fight everyone, every single weekend. I’ll entertain the people.”
Deep down, Chikadze feels like the UFC will at least grant him the opportunity to earn the title shot if beats Kattar in spectacular fashion this weekend.
Of course, Chikadze knows that he can’t look past Kattar, because in many ways he actually considers Saturday a tougher outing than the one he could potentially have against Volkanovski.
“Honestly for me, I think [Volkanovski is] the easiest fight in the top 10,” Chikadze said. “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 this guy have against me? Nothing.”