Giga Chikadze has slammed the UFC’s top 10 featherweights, particularly Yair Rodriguez, for dodging him.
Chikadze is coming off a spectacular first-round TKO win over Cub Swanson at UFC Vegas 25, and is already looking to get back inside the Octagon. He was offered and accepted the opportunity to replace Max Holloway, who pulled out of the UFC Vegas 31 main event against Yair Rodriguez due to injury.
Yair Rodriguez Turned Down The Fight
Speaking to MMA Fighting however, Chikadze said that Rodriguez turned the fight down.
“They called me to replace Max, and I was happy to step in,” Chikadze said. “I don’t know how this guy is gonna stay ranked number three if he don’t agree on the fight cause he hasn’t fought for a long time and look at me. I had like five, six fights in the same time. I don’t know what’s going to happen.
“It’s not surprising from him, because he’s been doing this for not only me but for other fighters. With Zabit [Magomedsharipov], he turned him down four times and after USADA violation and the UFC cut his contract, cut him from the UFC. I’m really upset on one thing. This guy is not ranked number three [in the UFC rankings], that’s the only thing. I feel like my name should be higher.”
Top 10 Featherweights Dodging Him
Chikadze, who currently sits in the number 10 spot in the featherweight rankings, made his UFC debut last March, and has since bagged five straight wins. Although the Georgian believes he should be ranked higher, the main argument against him is that he hasn’t beaten a legitimate contender yet.
The 32 year old wants to prove his critics wrong however, but said there’s not much that he can do if the top 10 contenders keep dodging him.
“Everyone is talking about my opponents, how I beat non-ranked opponents,” Chikadze said. “This and that and Cub Swanson was older age and stuff but how am I going to prove these guys wrong if nobody fights me from the top 10? Who should I fight?
“I’ve been calling out pretty much everybody. Arnold Allen, Edson Barboza, Calvin Kattar, Max, Yair, whoever don’t have a fight, [The Korean Zombie] now, it would be great fights. But nobody really accepted. Now the champion [Alexander Volkanovski] has a fight with Brian Ortega and whoever is available, everybody is not picking up the phone.”
Not being able to find a top 10 opponent for himself is frustrating for Chikadze, but he finds comfort in the fact that former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and reigning welterweight champion Kamaru Usman also faced the same problems during their early days in the promotion.
“It’s funny, me and [Kamaru] Usman have the same manager, and the other day I was talking to Ali [Abdelaziz] like what’s going on with these top-10 featherweight pussies? I was like what’s up with this? Why are they not fighting me? He was mentioning Usman’s name and Khabib, these guys had the same issue a couple of years ago,” Chikadze said.
“I don’t have an answer how these guys are top-ranked fighters today. Back in the day when a fighter was a real fighter and he was in the ranking, he was going to fight anybody. You would [fight] anybody, quality guys and I’m a quality guy. I’m top 10. I was last year the most busiest guy and I proved to anyone already. I want my main event fight.”
Keeping The Momentum Going
Having already fought and won five times in a little over a year, Chikadze wants to keep the momentum going, and is already itching to get back inside the Octagon.
“The good thing is I always accept the fights,” Chikadze said. “I know something’s going to happen. I always train. Usually, I don’t announce my injuries. Let’s say last fight when I fought Cub, I had a torn hamstring, a broken rib and a big issue with my lower back but no one knew about it. This is what I’m going through every single time I fight and I don’t complain all this. I never complain anything about all those types of things.
“These guys get some little injury or some mental issue. I remember when I got in the UFC, the first three fights I was scheduled with the same guy and this guy pulled out three times, all three times. We never fought. Mike Davis, I don’t know if you remember that guy but three times he pulled out this guy. He had mental issues. I don’t understand these types of fighters. I’m a different breed.”
While Chikadze says he has nothing against anyone in the division, he would appreciate it if the guys ranked above him stop dodging him, as he believes there’s so many intriguing matchups for him.
“Starting with ‘Zombie’ to whoever steps in from the top 10, I’m taking anybody,” Chikadze said. “How can you not schedule me with Yair or Kattar or Edson Barboza or ‘Zombie’ or Arnold Allen? All of those fighters in my division, they are amazing fighters. They have a very unique styles, very entertaining styles.
“Now if you’re playing ‘Mortal Kombat,’ you’re playing Sub-Zero against Liu Kang, Sub-Zero against Scorpion, definitely it’s going to be every single time I step in with them, it’s going to be a fun fight.”
Who would you like to see Giga Chikadze fight next?