Was a loss at UFC Vegas 46 a good thing for Giga Chikadze?

Mar 7, 2020; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Giga Chikadze (red gloves) before the match against Jamall Emmers (blue gloves) during UFC 248 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Last weekend at UFC Vegas 46, Giga Chikadze (14-3) was in the headliner against Calvin Kattar (23-5). While Kattar has been near the top of the division for some time, all of the talk was surrounding Chikadze. In fact, many were talking about him and a potential featherweight title shot.

Chikadze was 7-0 in the UFC entering this past weekend. Over his last few fights, he’s gotten better and better to the point where he was finishing top level competition. Despite having not taken on anyone in the top five, Chikadze was a sizable favorite over the durable Calvin Kattar.

In the first round, Chikadze started out well. His kicks were blazingly fast and he appeared to be hurting Kattar. However, Kattar did something that other opponents hadn’t done with Chikadze. That thing is the fact that he kept marching forward through the power of Giga.

You could tell after the first part of the second round that Chikadze was in trouble. He was really exhausted and Kattar put a ruthless pace on him that he started wilting under. To his credit, he never gave up at UFC Vegas 46. However, he was brutalized and lost a lopsided decision.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 46?

Sometimes great fighters need a night like UFC Vegas 46. They need a humbling fight that shows them a new side to the fight game. Sure, Chikadze had lost before. However, this took away the invincibility factor that he seemed to have and it showed him that there were other dangerous contenders in the UFC.

Many fighters grow from performances like that. Most of the time, they become even better. I mean look at UFC 270 this upcoming weekend. Francis Ngannou was dominated by Stipe Miocic a few years ago. He lost one more fight after that, but since then, he’s been absolutely destructive and became UFC champion.

That could very well happen with Chikadze. So, what should be next for Giga? I think a good fight for him would be looking one spot back in the rankings. One spot behind Giga is Dan Ige (15-5). Ige has lost two straight but only to guys in the top half of the division. This would be a sensational matchup for both men.