Giga Chikadze has been getting the Leon Edwards treatment at 145 pounds.
Probably because the No. 8-ranked “Ninja” has been “too nice” for most of his combat sports career, getting passed over by some of the more outspoken featherweights in the division Top 15, like the slap-happy Brian Ortega and hotel hurter Yair Rodriguez.
But that’s about to change as Chikadze prepares for his Calvin Kattar headliner at the UFC Vegas 46 MMA event this Sat. night (Jan. 15, 2022) inside APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. The winner will be atop a very short list of eligible title contenders, depending on how things shake out between Alex Volkanovski and Chan Sung Jung.
“The Great” defends his 145-pound title at UFC 273 in April.
“I think I’ve been too nice all my career, and maybe it’s time to talk some shit,” Chikadze told MMA Junkie at the UFC Vegas 46 media day. “That little chump, [Volkanovski is] taking the easy task. ‘Korean Zombie’ has probably like from the last seven fights, he’s 4-3. I’m on a roll. I’m 7-0 since I got into UFC, so how can you avoid me? There is a reason why he’s avoiding me, and I understand that. You know, he’s fighting the guy who’s already dead. He’s a zombie, you know, and I’m here, the new guy. New blood. New dog. Ninja, and I deserve to be standing right there.”
Chikadze (14-2) is riding a night-fight win streak with five nasty finishes.
A victory over Kattar, assuming it’s not a tepid decision or controversial call, should be enough to push the 33 year-old Georgian into a featherweight title fight. That said, he could get bumped for ex-champion Max Holloway, who was already booked to face Volkanovski before re-aggravating a pre-existing injury.
I’m not sure we can say the same for Kattar (22-5), currently ranked No. 5 at 145 pounds. “The Boston Finisher” has already been defeated by Zabit Magomedsharipov and the aforementioned Holloway, though Kattar would make a great opponent for Jung if “The Korean Zombie” is unable to seal the deal at UFC 273 in April.
Still lots of pieces to this featherweight puzzle.