In any other situation, Giga Chikadze would have a tremendous amount of respect for Calvin Kattar. But that’s not the case heading into their main event fight at UFC Vegas 46.
As the Georgian featherweight attempts to climb closer to title contention while seeking his eighth consecutive win in a row, he’s putting the division on notice when it comes to the admiration fighters often times show each other in the days leading up to an event.
“If I would not fight Calvin Kattar and I would not be fighting him, I would tell him what type of respect I have for him. But there is no respect when I have a fight against somebody,” Chikadze told MMA Fighting. “There is no nothing. I go there to kill everybody. Go and smash everybody. I want my title shot. I’ve been here for a long time and I want to get whatever I deserve.
“That’s the thing. I’m not here to make friends. I don’t change my life to travel all over the world to get more friends. I’m here for business. I’m here to take over. I’m here to get my title shot and [take] that back to my country.”
Nonetheless, when addressing Kattar as an opponent, Chikadze spoke with reverence towards the New England native while touting him as one of the toughest fighters in the entire 145-pound division. Chikadze was quick to point out that Kattar is no pushover, and he’s expecting nothing less than a war when they face off in the octagon on Saturday night.
“This guy is the hardest fight so far [that] I’ve done,” Chikadze said. “I know how tough he is. I know what he’s done in the UFC. I’ve been watching this guy before I was in the UFC and was studying his techniques, which I feel this is very good techniques for MMA.
“This guy is in front of me getting a title shot. It doesn’t matter who stands [in front of me]. I’m going to go there and just be me, and try to finish the safe way, so I can stay [ready] for the next one.”
Throughout his current win streak, Chikadze has continued to improve upon each performance, and that’s shown with three straight finishes added to his résumé, including an impressive TKO against vaunted striker Edson Barboza in his last outing.
Because Kattar has never been stopped in any of his UFC fights — including a brutal recent five-round battle with former champion Max Holloway — Chikadze will consider it a badge of honor if he is able to become the first person to put Kattar away, regardless of whether that finish comes on the ground or on the feet.
“Honestly, I really want to show the people how great my ground game [has become],” Chikadze said. “I want to submit people eventually, very soon. I’m going to start submitting people, but because Calvin Kattar has never been knocked out, it gives me a little bit of motivation more to finish him with striking.
“Last time, I really had the chance to finish Edson by submission, but I had to prove I’m the best striker and that’s the reason I let it go. This time, I said I’m the best boxer in the UFC, so I’m probably going to go more with striking. But if I get a chance like I had with Edson, I’m not going to let this go and I’m going to try to submit him.”
With a win, Chikadze hoped that he would move into a title fight against reigning featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski, who needed a new opponent after Holloway suffered a training injury that prevented them from meeting at UFC 272 in March.
Unfortunately for Chikadze, Volkanovski is now slated to instead face “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung, and that fight has been pushed back to UFC 273 on April 9.
Even before the switch was confirmed, Volkanovski’s recent tweet towards him had already changed Chikadze’s feelings regarding the featherweight champion.
“Before [the recent interaction], I always kind of messaged him after his last fight. I congratulated him,” Chikadze said of Volkanovski. “This is a cheap move for me to see that he messages me, he tweets me that I’m [just now] fighting for top five [ranking]. I lost a lot of respect for him.
“I’m not here for respect with these guys. No friends for me. I’m here to take over everybody. Smash. I don’t need extra friends here. I have my friends and my family, I’m really happy with that. I feel like these people are trying to take my dreams. I’m going to fight for it.”