"Come pussycat! You call yourself 'El Pantera.' I feel like 'El Pussycat' fits you more better."
Those fightin' words come courtesy of UFC rising star Giga Chikadze ... who challenged Yair "El Pantera" Rodriguez while talking to TMZ Sports.
Here's the deal ... Rodriguez -- the #3 ranked UFC featherweight -- was scheduled to scrap with #1 ranked Max Holloway on July 17.
Unfortunately, Blessed had to pull out with an undisclosed injury ... leaving Yair without an opponent.
Cue 32-year-old, #10 ranked Chikadze ... who's on an 8-fight win streak -- and badly wants to step in the Octagon with Rodriguez.
5-0 in the Octagon!Can 🇬🇪 @Giga_Chikadze keep his undefeated streak alive? #UFCVegas25 pic.twitter.com/zuAAZImLId— UFC (@ufc) April 27, 2021
5-0 in the Octagon!Can 🇬🇪 @Giga_Chikadze keep his undefeated streak alive? #UFCVegas25 pic.twitter.com/zuAAZImLId
"It would be a pleasure to fight [Yair]. Actually, UFC called me about this fight and I agreed right away, of course."
But, Giga says YR ... and a bunch of other top 10 ranked guys are intentionally avoiding him.
"I'm a new guy in division and I see everyone is ducking me. I just got in top 10 and all the top 10 guys, they were ducking me."
So, Chikadze's parting message to Yair?
"Prove me wrong in Vegas!"