Predicting who will be the first Georgian UFC champion
Georgia continues to produce a wealth of MMA talent that is flooding the UFC ranks.
Mixed martial arts is a global sport, with stars developing across the world. Georgia is one of the countries that has become a location that’s producing a lot of names fans will recognize in the UFC. With Giga Chikadze in an important bout on Saturday, it’s only a matter of time before a native to Georgia is holding a UFC championship. The question of who will be the first requires a deeper dive to produce an answer.
There are several names that pop up when talking about Georgian prospects in the UFC. Chikadze is not alone, as Merab Dvalishvili, Roman Dolidze, and Ilia Topuria may all come to mind. When looking at this group Dvalishvili and Chikadze stand out as the two top candidates as future champions in the promotion.
When asked this question, Chikadze pointed to Dvalishvili as the one who will become champion first.
“That’s a healthy challenge, I believe. I would be super happy if Merab gets a shot soon,” Chikadze said heading into UFC Vegas 46. “There’s a reality that I’m standing right there, and we’ll see what happens, but that drives both of us. Not only us but there’s so many fighters in the UFC from Georgia now.”
Calvin Kattar stands in the way of Giga Chikadze’s moment
Chikadze is right, there are a lot of fighters from Georgia and other countries close to that area of the world, pulling themselves up the UFC rankings. Chikadze is currently sitting in the eighth position and has a very winnable fight against the fifth-ranked Calvin Kattar. If he pulls out a victory on Saturday, he would be in line to get a featherweight title shot and find himself one step closer to the title picture, closer than any of the others from his native land.
Chikadze may have been in the UFC sooner if he didn’t have a hiccup back in 2018 on the Dana White Contender Series, losing to Austin Springer. That defeat fueled him to go on a nine-fight win streak. His last two victories came over former WEC title challenger, Cub Swanson, and perennial contender, Edson Barboza. Not only did he win, but he did so in a devastating fashion which always carries additional weight in the UFC.
Kattar is coming off a defeat at the hands of Max Holloway a year ago where he took an inordinate amount of damage for twenty-five minutes. If Chikadze becomes the first man to stop him via a knockout, he will have to be considered the top man to compete for the title before 2022 is over.
Alexander Volkanovski is fighting Chan Sung Jung at UFC 273 on April 9. Jung is stepping in for the injured Holloway, and even though he’s a crowd favorite his current run isn’t as strong as Chikadze’s. If Volkanovski comes out of that bout with the title, he won’t have to look far for his next contender.
Chikadze has a big moment on his hands this Saturday. With all the momentum at his back, a victory on Saturday can lead him to the title as Georgia continues to build a strong reputation in MMA.
“I’m very proud to be Georgian,” Chikadze said. “There are tough guys coming, more fighters coming, we are opening the door for them now and things are going well for MMA in Georgia.”
UFC Vegas 46 takes place on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, NV. Follow along with FanSided MMA, who is on-site, for all your news and highlights.
Published at Thu, 13 Jan 2022 21:29:01 +0000