Back in January it was announced that former kickboxing star turned UFC featherweight Giga Chikadze would be fighting Mike Davis. Fresh off of a dazzling and violent striking display in his own right, hardcore fans lauded the matchmaking. However, an undisclosed injury pulled the fight from February’s Norfolk, Virginia card and Chikadze wound up being booked for UFC 248 with a different opponent.
Flash forward another three months and Davis is back and the bout is rebooked for this coming Saturday. While fans have to wait just days to see this gift of the violence gods, Chikadze recalls that he already knows what happens when they tangle.
“I have not said this to anyone yet, three years ago [Davis] was in my gym,” Chikadze recalled. “Three years ago he came and visited Kings MMA.”
While both men are now in the UFC, Chikadze wasn’t even really an MMA fighter at the time. Davis on the other hand had turned pro two years prior.
“At that time I was just a kickboxer. I was preparing for my high, high level kickboxing fight. I was in a tournament in Glory, I was going to fight in Madison Square Garden,” he said of his training camp. “We had kickboxing training and this guy was visiting Kings for a week or two, and he puts his MMA gloves on while I’m sparring kickboxing.”
And Chikadze didn’t take too kindly to a visiting fighter coming in and changing the game on his training camp. If the gloves weren’t already enough reason to tick off the mild mannered Chikadze, what Davis did next was.
“I’m having, very soon, this kickboxing fight and camp is on me. Everyone is trying to help me with kickboxing, and he puts on MMA gloves and starts to strike with me,” he recalled. “Suddenly, he starts shooting,”
The takedown attempts caught the kickboxer by surprise. Afterall, he was in the midst of a training camp for a kickboxing match. However, that didn’t mean that Davis was much more successful.
“Even at that time, he did a couple of shots and he only took me down the first time because I did not expect, when we were having kickboxing training, to start shooting on me,” he said. “He took me down the first time because it was a surprise for me. After that he kept trying and trying and he could not take me down. And today I’m a completely different fighter. I have a lot of MMA experience and wrestling experience too. I’m training with Olympic wrestlers and one of the best American wrestlers as well.”
Both fighters have become better versions of themselves by now and have advances in all aspects of the game. However, Chikadze doesn’t think that will change the mindset of his opponent. In fact he expects most of his opponents to think just like Davis did that day.
“I believe there will be no one who is going to just stand in front of me. If you see all my fights, both of my UFC opponents were strikers and both of them kept shooting and kept trying to take me down,” he said. “I feel like he’s going to do the same.”