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Giga Chikadze (14-2, 9 KOs) expects to extend his nine-fight winning streak Saturday at UFC Vegas 46 when he meets Calvin Kattar in the main event.
KEVIN IOLE: Hey, folks. I am Kevin Iole at Yahoo! Sports. And my guest right now is in the main event of UFC Vegas 46, a featherweight clash with Calvin Kattar, Giga Chikadze. Giga, welcome, really good fight. I'm looking forward to this one. This should be a lot of fun.
GIGA CHIKADZE: Right, Kevin. Thank you.
KEVIN IOLE: Well, you know, are you a little disappointed first of all that you didn't get any consideration for the Alex Volkanovski fight? I saw that you kind of were throwing your hat in the ring when Max Holloway fell out for the featherweight championship. Did you feel like you had a shot at that?
GIGA CHIKADZE: Yeah, a little bit, of course. You know, I'm concen-- I'm concentrated on my fight first, you know. But I don't know. Maybe that's even better because I win the fight. I get my shot anyway.
So they can fight, and then I have more time to prepare, you know? Maybe winner after, so I'm not really mad on that too much. So first, I have a big mission. I'm facing my toughest opponent I ever faced, I believe. And then we'll see what happens.
KEVIN IOLE: I was going to bring that up because I think if there's any criticism of you at this point, and you know, it's hard to criticize your record. But you haven't faced the rank guys yet, so this is now Calvin is going to be the highest-- highest ranked guy you face. Do you think that after this fight that, you know, from that point on it'll be, you know, top 5 and above for the rest of your way?
GIGA CHIKADZE: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. I just needed somebody to fight from to fight. And that's why I took this fight with Calvin. I have a sign of respect of him what he has done in this sport. He's very strong guy, very tough guy. But nobo-- no one was available for me to fight at the time I was asking. And some of them were injured.
Some of them, they were already scheduled for the fight. So Calvin Kattar's name came out. And I happily took this fight because he's ranked 5. And that's exactly what I need right now.
KEVIN IOLE: Calvin, coming off a tough loss to Max Holloway, I-- I'm sure you've looked at that fight. Is there anything that you've seen in his style that you feel like, you know, you can take advantage of?
GIGA CHIKADZE: That fight? I don't-- I don't see Calvin With only one fight, you know? That fight definitely was not good fight for him. But he still throws some bombs in this fight. Any time could--
Max is a tough guy. He has a great chin, and he can take punches. But if there will be some other guy, Calvin might-- would get some knockout to win as well, even in the last rounds, he still was throwing bombs.
I-- I watched Calvin Cattar's career UFC career very closely. Since he got into UFC. I studied him well. And I see his fight-- I saw his fights and techniques, which I like it. It's funny that, before I got to UFC, I was checking out his feints, some of his boxing with the weapons and techniques. And the guy's good, man. He's a very heavy puncher, which in my-- in our division, there is not many people who knocks people out.
KEVIN IOLE: Right.
GIGA CHIKADZE: That's what I like and what's-- what I-- what's-- it's why I'm more motivated for this fight. No one has ever finished Calvin Kattar. Let's see now what's going to happen when you face the world champion in karate and kickboxing.
KEVIN IOLE: I was going to bring up to you the fact that, you know, there haven't been a lot of karate guys, you know, GSP, you know, but-- and-- and Lyoto Machida but, there haven't been a lot of karate people who have gone to the top in the UFC. So number one, why A, why do you think that is, and-- and B, like do you feel like your style is unusual enough that, you know, it-- it creates issues every time somebody has prepared for you.
KEVIN IOLE: You know the-- why? Because karate has-- so karate has a great weapons and the base and the style. It gives you leverage to move and from the distance and a lot of the kick weapons, which does not really practice some other sports even in Muay Thai and kickboxing that is not similar kicks like karate.
There are like great kicks in kickboxing. But if you have a good check and you can move well, you can definitely avoid the kickboxing kick weapons. But in karate, that's more like tricky weapons coming. Some of the feint kicks and some of the spinning kicks, I mean, there are some Spandex in kickboxing and Muay Thai as well. But I feel like a more entertaining way is in karate.
Same time, the timing, the precision, all these comes from karate. But definitely, you need to kickboxing as well to understand how the punches coming to you. You just mentioned what-- that-- what's the difference, right?
So in kickboxing, they do a lot of more, like mixing up the combinations of kick and punch and kick and punch. And sometimes, when you mix it up these, and you forgot for the-- off the base, you stand tall. You need this-- stand tall stance for these long combinations. But karate is more like a sniper-style.
And I'm kind of usi-- using both. It's not only one style I have. When I need to finish the guy, I finish with kickboxing style, the last few combos. But before that, I'm trying to stay sniper and pick shots. And once I need it, then I'm on my button, you know? I push it, and go forward.
KEVIN IOLE: Hey, Ga, I think one of the things that makes you interesting is, you know, when you talk about that sniper-style, you have that great quickness. And your kicks are so fast. And I think that's a thing that a lot of fighters. Do-- do you find they have trouble, you know, dealing with that speed of your kicks that you not only do they come from different angles that maybe they're not used to, but also you have very quick kicks?
GIGA CHIKADZE: No, not really. I'm really comfortable with that. I've been doing this for all my life, you know. But I was practicing each kick thousands of times, not thousand kicks, one time like Bruce Lee, right?
So I did that pretty much all my life from both way. There was not only the orthodox style. Even I'm [INAUDIBLE]. My coach is my sensei from karate, always make me trained from both style. As a southpaw and orthodox, that's why I feel really comfortable to switch some time and see how my opponent can react.
I can kick from both sides and stay the same, even from the southpaw. It's funny. I have some of the weapons, which people call it now Giga Kick. It from comes from southpaw stance.
KEVIN IOLE: Right.
GIGA CHIKADZE: They-- they have not seen my boxing style from southpaw which I'm excited to bring some time. Maybe not in this fight, maybe in this fight. We will see how it goes.
KEVIN IOLE: What do you think, you know, from sparring like Terence Crawford, one of the best boxers in the world. And one of the things he's great at is switching and-- and fighting southpaw or-- or right-handed. And-- and what do you think causes trouble? I-- is it because people train for a traditional stance and then when you switch southpaw it's something that they haven't prepared for. What is it that causes them trouble when you're able to switch like that?
GIGA CHIKADZE: I feel like not everyone has the same level sparring partners with different-- two different stances, you know?
KEVIN IOLE: Right.
GIGA CHIKADZE: Even-- I mean, it-- it's really hard to-- you know, you-- you only train with one or two or three guys, but there is so much different style. Let's say some of the guys, they come in our gym some time and they bring their different style which are-- I never really trained against that type of guys.
And it makes me think that, oh, I need to get better in this. I need to-- I need to call this guy more and ask him to train with us, you know? And yeah, if you like-- this sport is such a big sport that you cannot-- you cannot get crazy good in-- at very young age because you need to train with so many different type of sparring partners and teammates. Yeah.
KEVIN IOLE: Do you feel-- you know, was that went over Barboza, you know, did that in your own mind kind of-- I-- know you were confident even going into that fight. But when you did what you did, and you finished Barboza, you know, only the best of the best are finishing Barboza, right? I mean, when you finish Barboza, did that take your confidence to another level?
GIGA CHIKADZE: Maybe, maybe not because I-- I was sure that what I was doing. I called it earlier as well.
KEVIN IOLE: I remember.
GIGA CHIKADZE: Yeah, it's like, you know, like this guy is a striker, amazing striker. Legend in the sport. But earlier, whatever I mentioned that I come from this background, I was on the highest stage in the sport. And you come there, and you try to strike with me? You're mistaken, you know.
So I feel like I just proved it once again to that people who didn't believe in me before because I'm a new name in the game. I just-- I'm barely like two years here, you know? And I understand. And this guy has been more than 10 years in UFC and was entertaining everyone, myself as well. I was a fan. I am a fan of him.
KEVIN IOLE: Yeah.
GIGA CHIKADZE: But yeah, I mean, I'm not talking about some different sports like wrestling or ground game, jiu-jitsu, right? I'm talking about in that sport where I was the best and where I am the best, so--
KEVIN IOLE: Exactly. Well, you know what? I think they're giving you the respect now because Calvin Kattar is ranked number 5, and you were better than a 2 to 1 favorite to win this fight. So BetMGM has you have minus 250, so a lot of confidence being placed on you by the bookmakers.
GIGA CHIKADZE: Yeah, I mean, so far, I've been all the time the underdog, which-- which make me more-- more happier, because all my friends make it-- make more money with that [INAUDIBLE].
KEVIN IOLE: Get a little bit of juice there. [LAUGHS]
GIGA CHIKADZE: Yeah, yeah, you know the all the judges, they-- they-- they-- probably I'm like a hero there because in 2021, they made so much money on the-- on my fights.
KEVIN IOLE: Oh, do they like gambling in Georgia? Is that what they do there?
GIGA CHIKADZE: Well, It's a big there. Yeah, gambling is a big there. And they gamble on different sports, soccer mostly. But see some in UFC, they were making some good money, you know?
KEVIN IOLE: There we go. [INAUDIBLE]
GIGA CHIKADZE: I was getting a lot of messages. Thank you for giving me the whole budget salary of the whole year and stuff.
KEVIN IOLE: [LAUGHS] There you go. Well, let's wrap it up with this. I know you're confident you're going to win this. Do you think you finished Calvin Kattar? How do you see this one going? Do-- you have [INAUDIBLE]
GIGA CHIKADZE: A big-- big challenge for me, you know? No one has finished Calvin Kattar. [INAUDIBLE]
KEVIN IOLE: Never been knocked down, never been knocked down.
GIGA CHIKADZE: Never been knocked down, never been finished. So definitely that makes me-- gives me more hanger feeling to do that and letting witness how this feels like. So we'll see how it goes, you know?
I'm-- I'm going to go there. Be me. I'm going to make sure I win the fight, and I'm going to try to knock him out. I know I can get, so probably we're going to see some new-- new highlight.
KEVIN IOLE: New giga king. So I look forward to that. I will be there Saturday. Can't wait to see it. Giga Chikadze, thank you so much for joining me, best of luck on Saturday.
GIGA CHIKADZE: Thank you. Appreciate.