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Giga Chikadze of Georgia reacts after his TKO victory over Cub Swanson in a featherweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on May 01, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
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Giga Chikadze Knows This Is His Moment

Rising Featherweight Calls First Main Event Opportunity vs Barboza "Perfect"

Giga Chikadze can’t wipe the smile off his face, nor should he. It’s his birthday week, and it’s also fight week for his first UFC main event against Edson Barboza.

“On the weekend, I’m going to get a real present,” Chikadze told UFC.com on his actual birthday, August 25. “I’m waiting for Saturday. I’m trying to keep my feelings about my birthday for later. Now, I’m trying to concentrate on a safe weight cut. So far, it’s been the best weight cut I’ve had ever, so now I’m looking to the best fight I have had.”

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Chikadze feels like this marquee moment has been a long time coming, but it also feels like the right time for the Georgian kickboxing standout.

Rise Of Giga Chikadze
Rise Of Giga Chikadze
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His first four UFC fights ended with Chikadze getting decision wins, but that first UFC finish proved elusive. In his most recent pair of outings, however, he showed why everyone is so excited about Chikdaze’s presence in the sport.

Known for his fast and powerful “Giga Kicks,” Chikadze showed those weapons to be up to the hype in his TKO wins over Jamey Simmons and Cub Swanson. Now, he gets to make the main event walk, and he is both physically and mentally prepared to show out.

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“Master Rafael (Cordeiro) just said one main thing I have to follow, ‘Giga, you have to be you,’” Chikadze said. “That’s what I’m going to do on Saturday. I’ll be me. I’m going to bring all my entertaining, flashy weapons. Some of them, people haven’t seen it yet in the Octagon, and I’m going to enjoy every single second I’m going to spend in the Octagon.”

On top of the already-exciting prospect of his first main event bout, Chikadze is also ecstatic to fight Barboza, who is also known for flashy striking and earth-shattering kicks. Chikadze called it a “perfect main event,” and the matchup also holds a little bit of personal history.

In 2017, Barboza fought Chikadze’s Kings MMA teammate Beneil Dariush, knocking Dariush out with a flying knee in Fortaleza, Brazil. Chikadze said Barboza “broke his heart” that night, so there’s a little revenge factor on August 28, as well.

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“I’m here for a rematch, if you like,” Chikadze said. “I have to take this win no matter what. I’m prepared for the war. I’m prepared for the real Mortal Kombat fight, and I just don’t have any other choice but to win this fight.”

It’s a matchup that has fight fans salivating and for good reason. Both men are apt to get into firefights, but not just sloppy brawls. The techniques both have shown in the Octagon are among the best and most entertaining on the roster.

With that in mind, Chikadze does believe he can best Barboza, saying he does everything Barboza does “twice better” and is eager to show it on fight night.

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He understands a win over a mainstay like Barboza also unlocks the upper tier of fights in the vaunted featherweight division. He said he believes Barboza is right up there with former champ Max Holloway in terms of name recognition, so he understands the opportunity that is available to him.

“When you beat Edson Barboza in the way I’m planning to do it, you can ask for anything in the organization,” Chikadze said. “I’m on a roll, 6-0 officially, soon to be seven, then we go from there.”

It feels all a bit tailor-made for the self-described “ninja.”

The styles project an incredibly fun fight. All things considered, Chikadze should have the chance to not only entertain fans but impress them if he can get the job done against Barboza, and the fight could also prove pivotal in launching him into the Top 10. Freshly 33 years old, Chikadze knows this is The Moment, and he’s completely confident in his ability to make the most of it while also enjoying it all, as well.

“It’s been a long journey,” Chikadze said. “It’s no surprise for me where I am standing now. After all the hard work I’ve done, I believe I deserve this, and I’m enjoying the moment.”