Rising featherweight contender Giga Chikadze is a perfect 7-0 under the UFC banner, which includes back-to-back wins — and back-to-back finishes — over longtime veterans Cub Swanson and Edson Barboza.
But “Ninja” is only ranked No. 8 at 145 pounds.
“I’m not happy with it,” Chikadze told MMA Junkie. “I was No. 10. I beat No. 9, but it was not just a regular No. 9, and it was not a decision, not a split decision, not a close fight. As I said: I kick the shit out of people. When you beat somebody like Edson Barboza and you are No. 10 and he’s No. 9, you don’t just go one more and become No. 8. I have to be somewhere in the top five.”
Working against Chikadze (14-2) is the fact that his biggest win to date, a technical knockout win over Barboza at UFC Vegas 35, is the first time “Ninja” has defeated a Top 10 opponent. The Brazilian was ranked No. 9 at the time of their “Sin City” showdown.
“I was hoping to get top three, because in the top three there’s another guy (Yair Rodriguez) who has not fought in all this time since I’m in UFC, and I fought seven times – seven times in less than two years,” Chikadze continued. “That’s something that really has to be mentioned. They put me just top eight, so I was a little bit sad.”
With Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega going to war at UFC 266, and Max Holloway getting down with Yair Rodriguez just a few weeks after that, Chikadze has a pretty solid chance of landing a Top 5 opponent for his Octagon return.
What he does with that opportunity remains to be seen.