Giga Chikadze believes he has earned a higher ranking in the featherweight division and expects to see a new number next to his name on Monday morning.
Chikadze earned his third consecutive technical knockout win, this time over a man he considered an “absolute legend” in Edson Barboza during the main event of UFC Vegas 35 on Saturday night. Chikadze and Barboza traded fast punches and vicious kicks over the course of three rounds, but it was the Georgian fighter who was getting the better of the exchanges. Chikadze wobbled Barboza with a combination toward the end of the third round and pushed for a finish, which he got once the referee stepped in to stop the fight.
Fresh off yet another impressive win, Chikadze used his time on the microphone with UFC color commentator Paul Felder to say what he wants for his next appearance in the Octagon. The 33-year-old either serves as a backup fighter for the upcoming featherweight championship fight between Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega or meets a former champion in Max Holloway. Those are very high-profile fights for Chikadze, but there is a reason why he specifically asked for them.
“I’m not interested in anything else,” Chikadze told assembled media during his post-fight press conference (video by MMA Junkie). “Like why? Everybody before this [fight] said no to me. I’ve been told that now I’m going to fight a top-five guy and then you fight for the title. The top-five guy didn’t agree, nobody agreed and that’s why I fought Edson, who is a bigger name than the top five.
“I want to see myself in the top-five rankings next week,” continued Chikadze. Top three actually. I want to be in the top three because there is a guy who since I got into the UFC who has not even fought. I’ve not even been here two years and I fought seven fights and this guy did not even fight. Why should this guy be in the top three and me whatever? I have to be there. I deserve a title shot next, so there is no other one.”
Chikadze knows his resume warrants a championship opportunity and is hoping that comes sooner rather than later.