The “Giga Kick” delivered in a big way on Saturday night.
Giga Chikadze earned his sixth consecutive Octagon triumph at UFC on ESPN 23, as he dispatched veteran featherweight Cub Swanson with a liver kick and follow-up punches 63 seconds into the opening round of their co-main event encounter at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Once Chikadze delivered his patented maneuver, Swanson doubled over in agony, and it was academic from there.
“I’m happy to get a beautiful win and a beautiful KO, but I like this guy a lot. I don’t think it was necessary for me to have to deliver the last few punches,” Chikadze said. “If they would have stopped it just after the kick, I would be happier. But I had to do it because the referee didn’t stop it. He’s [Swanson] a legend. It feels great to beat a legend.”
Chikadze didn’t get much time to test himself against Swanson. The Palm Springs, Calif., native attempted to close the distance right away, but Chikadze created an avenue for the fight-ending blow by throwing a high kick moments earlier.
“I thought we would have more exchanges. Once I had my chance, I went for it,” Chikadze said. “t’s a special kick. Other fighters are going to watch it more.”
Swanson is the biggest name on Chikadze’s resume thus far, and after going the distance in his first four promotional outings, the kickboxer has scored back-to-back KOs in his last two appearances.
“It feels great. Finally I’m satisfied with things happening in my life,” Chikadze said. “I’ve been digging at this for a long time. I know I’m one step closer to where I want to get to. I’m going slowly. I’m very happy with that.”
At Saturday’s post-fight press conference, Chikadze targeted the likes of Max Holloway, Calvin Kattar or Yair Rodriguez as his next potential opponent. Whether the Georgian fighter has built up enough of a reputation to receive any of those matchups remains to be seen, but he is confident tha he deserves a high-profile bout next.
“When you beat someone like this in a minute, the next opponent should be big,” Chikadze said. “I’ll get more fans from this and then get what I deserve. I’ve worked hard for it. I believe in my hard work.
“After this fight with Cub, I deserve someone in the top 10.”
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