In the lead-up to Chikadze’s first UFC main event fight against Edson Barboza, the Georgian mentioned it as a possibility. He thought he would escape the fight with no injuries and have an impressive performance which would allow him to be the backup fighter.
“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 said to BJPENN.com before his fight with Barboza. “Holloway and Rodriguez are booked for November, so it makes sense that I’ll be the backup fighter.”
Now, following his third-round TKO over Barboza, Chikadze is still hoping to serve as the backup fighter for the title fight. However, he has yet to be given the green light that, that is the plan. Yet, he says he plans to meet with Dana White shortly to discuss that.
“I left Vegas very quick. I mentioned this to Dana [White]; I mentioned this to Sean [Shelby], and I left Vegas to LA,” Chikadze said to MMAFighting. “And then from LA, I flied next day to Georgia. I just arrived. I’m still in jet lag….so now, because time frame is different, it’s like 11-hour difference, I’m gonna have a fresh talk probably tonight or tomorrow with them. We’ll see.”
Although Giga Chikadze is only ranked eighth at featherweight, it does make sense for him to serve as the backup fighter. Max Holloway and Yair Rodriguez are linked to a fight with each other, Calvin Kattar and Josh Emmett are on the sidelines and Korean Zombie just fought Ortega.
Whether or not Chikadze will be the backup fighter for the title fight is uncertain. If he doesn’t serve as the backup, the Georgian is looking to be active and prove he deserves a crack at the belt.
Do you think Giga Chikadze should serve as the backup fighter for the title fight at UFC 266?