Alexander Volkanovski hopes Giga Chikadze learned a lesson in respect with his Saturday loss to Calvin Kattar at UFC Vegas 46.
Volkanovski was the target of Chikadze’s ire last week after agreeing to defend his UFC featherweight title against late replacement Chan Sung Jung ahead of UFC Vegas 46. Chikadze blasted the defending champion for taking “the way easy” in fighting Jung and said Volkanovski was “the easiest fight in the top 10”. Chikadze also criticized the UFC for refusing to wait until after Kattar’s fight before booking a replacement, with the implication being that he would be able to defeat Kattar and then quickly turn around for a title fight.
This, of course, did not happen. Chikadze lost lopsidedly at UFC Vegas 46 – and now Volkanovski can’t help but rejoice to see the Georgian being forced to swallow his words.
“Look, there are going to be people talking about trash and stuff. It’s part of the game, we understand that. But there are other aspects to it,” Volkanovski explained on Monday on MMA hour. “And then there is a real disrespect – not only towards me, but also towards Calvin Kattar. You have a man, a top contender in front of you, and you act like you’re just going through this guy. Not only, let’s win first before we start, [but] you will probably hurt yourself. The fight is not too far away and all that. There are so many things that come into play.
“Trying to say, ‘You’re taking the easy way,’ and then disrespecting Zombie like he did, is just disrespecting everyone.”
Volkanovski noted that he was particularly put off by Chikadze’s abrasive approach because he had spoken to the former kickboxer in the past and thought he was a decent guy.
“He said, ‘I can’t wait [to fighting you]’, and I said, ‘Dude, keep doing what you’re doing.’ I remember having this conversation with him: “Keep doing what you’re doing and it will happen. But then it started,” Volkanovski said. “I don’t know, maybe he just thought that was the way to go. He started to keep going, and a lot of people like me are like, ‘You better win or it’s gonna look really bad.’ And I think that was a bad choice, because now he looks a bit like an idiot. And then it even continues to Zombie. Zombie, all he does – I think he made one of them emojis.
“Who didn’t think that? The way you go on, who didn’t think that? And then, you know, you start leaving. If you are going to play this game, you should expect this review. You expect people to bite. If this is the game you want to play, then play it to the end. Don’t get mad when people start rubbing it in your face.
For what it’s worth, the brutal loss to Kattar didn’t change Chikadze’s tone much. He came back on the offensive against Jung in his first post-fight comments, and even said he felt like he’d beat Kattar nine out of 10 times if the pair fought again.
Volkanovski is finally set to meet Jung on April 9 at UFC 273 after his original opponent, Max Holloway, pulled out due to injury. Still, even if Chikadze had held his end of the bargain and passed Kattar, Volkanovski believes he wouldn’t have been the most deserving candidate to step in and replace Holloway as challenger on short notice, simply because of Chikadze’s qualifications. within the division. – or lack of.
“I think [UFC Vegas 46] was a big eye opener for Giga,” Volkanovski said. “That, my friend, [against] good guys, you can’t just rely on a kick. You know, the Giga kick. It just shows you that you nullify his Giga kick and he ends up being a punching bag. Again, man, that’s why you have to fight these contenders. Fight all the best guys, the guys who will mix it all up. See where you stand before you start taking on the champion. You can imagine when you talk about making adjustments, planning games, cardio, all these tools that I have – mate, I would have made it look like really, really wrong. You could imagine.
“So before we want to take these types of guys out, let’s experiment with some of these good guys and see where you are at. And he’s shown he’s not really at that level.
For Volkanovski, the whole question is not complicated. He wants to fight the best of the best, and Chikadze just hasn’t earned the right to call himself that yet.
Thus, the champion can’t help but bristle after hearing Chikadze accuse him of being scared during the entire preparation for UFC Vegas 46, only to have this missed performance.
“Look at the people I’ve fought. Look at the guy I fought. Mate, you are an absolute idiot if you think I dodged the fights,” Volkanovski said. “Max Holloway has proven himself to be the second best guy. I give him the trilogy after winning twice. Who do this ? Only guys who know they have the skills to keep winning are going to do it. The guys who don’t care. Guys with balls who are going to do what they gotta do.
“It’s plain and simple. I am an easy to understand champion. I am not running away from anyone. Earn that #1 spot and you can get it.