Giga Chikadze: UFC 304 win over Arnold Allen puts me ‘back to where I belong’ in title picture

Giga Chikadze hopes a victory over Arnold Allen at UFC 304 will serve as a reminder that he’s a legitimate title contender.

Chikadze (15-3 MMA, 8-1 UFC) will attempt to get back on a winning streak when he enters enemy territory to face Allen (19-3 MMA, 10-2 UFC) in a featherweight bout on July 27 at Co-op Live in Manchester, England.

After opening his UFC career with seven consecutive victories, Chikadze hit his first octagon road block with a unanimous decision defeat to Calvin Kattar at UFC on ESPN 32 in January 2022. He subsequently had a 20-month layoff that included injuries and fight cancellations, but then Chikadze returned with force in August to outpoint Alex Caceres for a unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 225.

That win set him up for the clash with Allen, who Chikadze regards highly as an opponent and thinks he can elevate his career in a significant way.

“He’s definitely a very strong opponent,” Chikadze told MMA Junkie Radio. “Fighting and defeating someone like that is definitely, for me, coming out from the last win, I believe it’s one of the contender fights for the title. For Allen, it’s probably more staying in his spot. He’s ranked No. 5 or No. 6 right now (in the official UFC rankings) and has already had a title eliminator. It’s like two different perspectives. I have eight wins in the UFC and only one loss. The last fight was a win, and definitely this is going to put me back to where I belong in that spot.”

Allen, No. 8 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie featherweight rankings, will be hungry for a win at UFC 304 following back-to-back losses against Max Holloway and Movsar Evloev. No. 13 Chikadze will have something to say about that, though, and as always, will try to keep the fight standing in hopes of a highlight finish.

“He’s a different style of guy,” Chikadze said. “He’s always strong, well rounded fighter. Not bad in striking. Not bad in the ground, as well. He has all the tools. … I believe I’m the best striker still, and I know what adjustments I have to do in the fights.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 304.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie