ANAHEIM, Calif. – According to Giga Chikadze, his fight with Cub Swanson won’t be the all-out striking battle that everyone expects.
Chikadze (12-2 MMA, 5-0 UFC) meets Swanson (27-11 MMA, 12-7 UFC) on May 1 at UFC on ESPN 23 in his biggest fight to date.
Unbeaten in the UFC, Chikadze picked up his first octagon finish when he stopped Jamey Simmons in the first round last November at UFC on ESPN 17. Though he’s beaten tough guys during his UFC tenure, Chikadze is happy to get a marquee name in the featherweight division.
“I got super excited. I couldn’t sleep all night,” Chikadze told MMA Junkie on drawing Swanson. “This is a guy that I’ve been watching for a long time, since I started to really recognize some of the fighters in the UFC and especially in my weight division, and that guy’s been around for a long, long time. He was always like a top-five guy, fought a couple of times in a title fight. I’m just excited. I know he’s one that likes to fight. He’s gonna come forward, and that’s what brings the best in me.”
Although Swanson has thrilled fans with numerous exhilarating stand-up wars against the likes of Doo Ho Choi and Kron Gracie, Chikadze thinks he’ll resort to wrestling in their fight.
“When it comes to highlights guys and highlights skillset, I don’t know if we need to talk about him in this case. Probably that’s gonna be me,” Chikadze said. “But I’m definitely sure that he’s still gonna bring his grappling and wrestling skills because everyone thinks they need to take me down and they’re right about that, because I feel I’m the best striker in the UFC, inside the MMA sport, so that’s what he needs to try.
“Even if he says he’s gonna bring new striking, new skills against Giga, I know he’s gonna be lying. It’s nothing in his case, everyone who steps in the octagon with me, they’re all gonna try the same thing against me. I know, and I’m prepared for this, so I don’t think anything is gonna surprise me.”
Chikadze is hoping a win over perennial contender Swanson will catapult him to the top of division, as the Georgian kickboxer only wants to look onwards and upwards from here.
“I really want to have those type of fights,” Chikadze said. “I’m glad I finally get an opponent that people know about because my other opponents, they didn’t really have much of a name. I know the real MMA fans, they knew about them, but this is one that the whole world pretty much knows about. For the next one, I’m looking forward to a bigger name.”