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Giga Chikadze did not leave UFC on ESPN 8 with just another win on May 16 in Jacksonville, Florida. In fact, he exited the cage with newfound respect for opponent Irwin Rivera after defeating the former Titan Fighting Championship titleholder by unanimous decision. Rivera accepted the match on a few days’ notice and moved up in weight to face the Georgian featherweight. The newcomer’s boldness and the toughness he displayed impressed Chikadze.
“Every time I hit this guy, I was like, ‘Damn, he’s still coming back.’ I thought he was dead, but he’s still alive,” Chikadze told Sherdog.com. “Actually, in the third round when I knocked him down in the first 10 seconds … I’ve knocked out many people with that knee, and not like bantamweights. I’m talking about lightweight guys, welterweight guys, but this guy, such a tough guy, man. I’m sure he’s going to do super good in the bantamweight division. Trust me on this, he’s going to be a problem for the division.”
In this exclusive interview, Chikadze discussed his lack of finishes in the UFC, provided his thoughts on what might come next for him and talked about representing his country every time he sets foot in the cage.