In the high-stakes world of professional fighting, time off can feel like an eternity. Just ask Giga Chikadze, the talented UFC featherweight contender who has been grappling with an 18-month layoff. Frustration is mounting for Chikadze, who is growing tired of waiting for his next assignment inside the octagon.
Since his unanimous decision loss to Calvin Kattar at UFC on ESPN 32 in January 2022, Chikadze has been sidelined due to a series of injuries. The road to recovery has been a treacherous one, requiring the resilient fighter to undergo a staggering five surgeries. Despite his arduous journey back to full health, Chikadze has been ready and eager to compete for well over a year.
However, his return to action has been plagued by misfortune. Chikadze revealed that potential matchups against Sodiq Yusuff, Chan Sung Jung, and Brian Ortega have all fallen through due to injuries sustained by his prospective opponents. These setbacks have left Chikadze in a state of limbo, uncertain of what the future holds for his career.
Speaking about his frustrations, Chikadze expressed his disappointment:
"It's been a year-and-a-half I've been trying to get a fight. It's a little bit frustrating because I've been training for a year and two months for a fight to prepare... I'm still good. I'm just waiting to come back."
Chikadze's determination to return to the octagon is evident. Before his loss against Kattar, the Georgian fighter had showcased his skills with an impressive seven-fight winning streak in the UFC's 145-pound division. However, at the age of 35, Chikadze knows that time is of the essence if he wants to make a lasting impact on the sport he loves.
As Chikadze's frustration mounts, fans and fellow fighters are left wondering when he will finally step back into the cage. Will his next opponent be the one who will test his mettle and potentially catapult him back into the title picture? Only time will tell.