Giga Chikadze is excited to headline his first UFC show and knows his fight against Edson Barboza will be a fan-friendly one.
Chikadze is coming off the biggest win of his career as he scored a first-round TKO over Cub Swanson. After that, he began calling for top-five opponents, but that didn’t happen, however, he did get a main event against Barboza which he is eager about.
“It’s a big deal for me, my country and in general it’s a big fight. But, for me, I believe this is just another fight on the road to get my dream of becoming a UFC champ,” Chikadze said to BJPENN.com. “I was wanting to fight someone in the top five, but Edson is a bigger name than some of them in the top five, so I get past Edson, it’s only big fights from here on it and fighting the best of the world.”
Against Barboza, Chikadze says he expects the fight to be a kickboxing fight for a few minutes. However, he says once he starts to land on the Brazilian he knows Barboza will turn into a wrestler.
“I think he will try and take me down. He will start with striking and then he will see the difference in the level of striking we have and he will shoot,” Chikadze explained. “He’ll be shocked when he sees how much better of a striker I am, that we are on different levels. He will then turn into a wrestler and will try and take me down.”
Although Chikadze is known as a striker, he says his takedown defense and grappling have gotten better. He has been a main training partner of Beneil Dariush which he says has benefited him a ton.
Then, on the feet, he knows what Edson Barboza does, he does better. He knows he has a style that can find the openings and hurt the Brazilian. Once he does that, Chikadze says he will find the finish which he says will be a highlight-reel stoppage.
“He has very good calf kicks and spinning kicks. But, I know how to do those as well and can counter them. My jab is also very good, and I just see a lot of openings that I can catch him on. I’ll be able to switch stances and find those openings,” Chikadze said. “I know I won’t force anything though, as when I force the knockout, it sometimes isn’t there. I’m just going in there to be myself and do my thing and be explosive when I need to be. I’m going to win this fight in a spectacular fashion.”
If Giga Chikadze does get his hand raised and finishes Barboza he says he will stay ready. The plan for him is to be the backup fighter for the featherweight title at UFC 266. If that fight stays in tact, he says a title eliminator fight against a top-three opponent should be next for him.
“I want a title shot. I’ll be the backup fighter for the title fight between Volkanovski and Ortega at UFC 266. After I finish this fight, I think I will be able to be the backup fighter for the title fight in September,” Chikadze concluded. “Holloway and Rodriguez are booked for November, so it makes sense that I’ll be the backup fighter.”
Do you think Giga Chikadze will finish Edson Barboza?