The UFC featherweight division was turned upside down last week after former 145-pound champion Max Holloway returned to the sidelines with an undisclosed injury, canceling his UFC 272 rematch against current division kingpin Alexander Volkanovski.
And now that “Blessed” is out of the picture for the time being, the rest of the featherweight contenders are practically tripping over themselves in a rush to secure the open title slot, including former title challenger “The Korean Zombie,” Chan Sung Jung.
“I know the champ — the chump — is trying to have an easy task,” Giga Chikadze told MMA Fighting. “Top 10, everybody is tough, but I believe I already beat one of the strongest guys in the division 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 the easy way. 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.”
Chikadze (14-2) is the winner of nine straight with five nasty finishes but is still ranked outside the Top 5 at No. 8. Probably because “Ninja” hasn’t beaten anyone in the Top 15 with the exception of former lightweight Edson Barboza, who currently occupies the No. 10 slot.
“Honestly for me, I think [Volkanovski is] the easiest fight in the top 10,” Chikadze continued. “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. 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.”
Chikadze will make his case for the next crack at Volkanovski in the UFC Vegas 46 main event, where “Ninja” goes to war with Boston boxer Calvin Kattar. A victory over the “Boston Finisher” would put the Georgian atop a very short list of eligible contenders.
Above Jung? That’s for matchmakers to decide.