Giga Chikadze’s stand-up game is so good he even has his own move named after him.
Chikadze’s all-action style has seen the former Glory man become a firm fan favourite in the UFC since he made the transition from kickboxing to mixed martial arts in 2017.
Not only has the No8-ranked featherweight caught the eye with nine knockouts in his 14 MMA fights, but he’s also perfected a brutal kick to the liver, also known as ‘The Giga Kick’, which leaves fans screaming in excitement at their television screens and strikes terror in the heart of his enemies simultaneously.
Three of Chikadze’s last five wins have come emphatically inside the distance – top-level opponents such as Edson Barboza and Cub Swanson have fallen victim to his impressive striking arsenal of wild spinning kicks and deadly sharp elbows.
And now Chikadze will lock horns with Calvin Kattar on Saturday night in the main event of UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas.
Speaking to Yahoo! Sports in 2021 about his career, it soon becomes clear Chikadze has dedicated his entire life to get to where he is today.
“It’s been a long time. I’ve been doing this since I was a 4-year-old,” he said after the win over Barboza.
“I’m sure my dad had the plan for me [to be a fighter] since I was born, maybe not even.
“Really, I don’t do anything besides this. Martial arts is what I have done since I was born, and it’s what I enjoy. It’s my hobby.”
Originally from Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, but now a resident of Anaheim, California, Chikadze has set up his training camp at Kings MMA in Huntington Beach, with Beneil Dariush and Rafael Dos Anjos among his regular sparring partners on the mats.
Hollywood is a long way from the hot springs of the Georgian capital Chikadze comes from but he’s already nicely settled into life in the United States.
And the Ninja’s head coach, Rafael Cordeiro, reckons he’s helping to usher in a new era of mixed martial arts.
“There have been a lot of different eras in MMA,” Cordeiro added.
“We had a jiu-jitsu era and a wrestling era, but I believe this is the kickboxing era.
“The strike is back, and of course, striking is important because every fight starts on the feet. Giga just has beautiful [striking] skills and he understands it so well.”