UFC 296 Hit With Major Cancellation, Former Champ Calls to Step In

Giga Chikadze is out of his featured prelim bout against Josh Emmett at UFC 296 on December 16. “Ninja” suffered a torn groin in training and has been forced out of the fight altogether.

Chikadze broke the news on December 5, sharing a video of his training injury to his social channels:

“S*** happens! Torn groin! I’ll be back soon!” Chikadze announced.

Unfortunately for Chikadze, he will face another extended break after coming back from his one-year absence following his defeat to Calvin Kattar in 2022. A win over Emmett would have propelled Chikadze into the title picture, alongside Ilia Topuria. Now Emmett is either facing the possibility of the fight being canceled or a last-minute replacement opponent.

Aljamain Sterling Hints at Featherweight Showdown With Josh Emmett

On December 4, former bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling took to Twitter to acknowledge Emmett’s predicament and expressed his willingness to step in as a short-notice replacement:

Aljamain Sterling on Twitter / X

Given Sterling’s status as a former champion, and Emmett’s top-10 ranking, a victory for “The Funk Master” would practically guarantee a title fight against the winner of Alexander Volkanovski vs. Ilia Topuria in February 2024.

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Mathew Riddle MMA

Mathew Riddle

Mathew is a combat sports journalist & designer. His past bylines include Sports Illustrated, Heavy on UFC, Sport Skeeda, MMA UK, and MMA Sucka.