Featherweight fighter Giga Chikadze is eager to return to the octagon after more than a year out of action. Following the completion of several surgeries to address injuries, Chikadze is now healthy and has voiced his desire to fight at one of the UFC’s major summer events. Talks have begun regarding a potential matchup with Brian Ortega for the No. 12 ranked fighter, with most of the other top 145-pound contenders already booked.
Ortega, tied for No. 5, is open to the prospect of fighting Chikadze this summer. While the fight has not been formally set, both fighters have expressed interest and the UFC has signaled its approval for the bout. Ortega has been in the upper echelon of the featherweight rankings for several years and has twice dropped fights that could have pushed him towards a title shot. His most recent contest saw him endure a shoulder injury and a first-round TKO loss.
Chikadze saw his nine-fight win streak come to an end with a defeat to Calvin Kattar and is anxious to return to the octagon. Both fighters are interested in the matchup and the UFC appears to be in favor. Chikadze’s relationship with Ortega began before he even signed with the UFC. The fighters met through a mutual connection and gambled together in Las Vegas.
The two fighters run into each other frequently due to living in the same neighborhood, and they’ve even shared the same space at a recovery center in Huntington Beach, Calif. While Chikadze trained at Rafael Cordeiro’s King MMA, he once invited Ortega training with them but was turned down. Despite training at different facilities, Chikadze says that he and Ortega share several mutual friends, and he respects the BJJ black belt’s skills.
Should the planned fight with Ortega take place, it would be a test of Chikadze’s striking versus Ortega’s grappling expertise. Chikadze looks forward to displaying the grappling abilities he’s honed since moving to the United States. He’s worked to improve his jiu-jitsu, training with Leo Vieira, head of Checkmat, as well as at King’s MMA.
Chikadze feels he’s become a more versatile fighter, and is not merely a striker. While initially hoping to fight earlier this year, a match with Chan Sung Jung collapsed, and Chikadze is now ready to delay his return.