Top featherweight contender Arnold Allen is confused about a potential match-up between Jeremy Stephens, who was supposed to fight him at UFC Vegas 13, and unranked Georgian kickboxer, Giga Chikadze.
Allen has amassed seven straight wins since joining the UFC back in 2015. This past weekend he was supposed to be in the biggest fight of his career opposite ‘Lil Heathen’ but the long-time 145lb fighter withdrew from the bout citing injury.
Chikadze picked up his fifth straight UFC win on the card against late-replacement opponent Jamey Simmons. Post-fight he accused Allen of ducking a fight with him. The 26-year-old Englishman told LowKickMMA that a fight with Chikadze was on the table but he decided against it due to a number of reasons.
“That Giga (Chikadze) guy, he was offered, and he fought still on the card,” Allen said. “It was just like, the complete opposite of what we had prepared for and last minute.”
“That was the only option. Obviously, he’s good. I rate him. It’s not an easy match-up by any means but at this point, we need ranked opponents, like top ten, we need big names. We was supposed to fight (Josh) Emmett. We was supposed to fight Stephens and they both got injured.”
Allen claims he is not against short-notice fights and would be willing to step up if needed against the right opponent.
“For the right opportunity I’m ready to step in. Zabit (Magomedsharipov) a few weeks ago, before I was booked to fight Stephens. Yair (Rodriguez) pulled out and I offer to step in. I said, ‘I’ll take it’ (and) he said he was waiting for a title shot or was rallying for a title shot – obviously that didn’t happen. For opportunities like that, for top guys… I’ll step in for that. I’m ready to go but I’m not just here to take random fights. I’m in a good position. I’m still young as well.”
Chikadze later asked for a fight against Stephens for December. The supposedly injured knockout artist took to social media to verbally agree to the fight – a move that doesn’t sit right with Allen, who told us.
“To be honest it makes me feel like Stephens is ducking me, I don’t know. People were saying it when he first pulled out. ‘Ahh, he’s scared to fight you’. Nah, I look at his record and he’s fought everyone, I don’t think he’s scared to fight anyone. But, it does make you think why would he say that? Surely, he would be like ‘ahh ok, but we are getting the fight back on with Arnold’.
Allen says he is up for rescheduling his fight with Stephens for December but insists that was not an option given to him when his UFC Vegas 13 opponent originally pulled out of their scheduled bout.
“If he’s injured for a few weeks and we have to wait, I’ll wait for Stephens,” Allen said. “I’m happy to do that. I was told he’s out for a long while (and) he’s going to be out until next year.”
Who do you want to see Arnold Allen fight next?