Manel Kape has mapped out his road to gold, and there are two names he thinks will help him get there.

It’s been a busy 2021 for Kape (17-6 MMA, 2-2 UFC), who after dropping his first two UFC bouts, ended the year with a bang. The former Rizin FF bantamweight champion is coming off back-to-back first-round knockouts of Ode Osbourne and Zhalgas Zhumagulov and is now ready to make his title run.

Two names come to mind for Kape’s next opponent, the first being Kai Kara-France (23-9 MMA, 6-2 UFC), who’s coming off a knockout win over former 135-pound UFC champ Cody Garbrandt. Kara-France called for a title shot after his marquee win, but Kape doesn’t think he’s earned it and would love to test his power against “Don’t Blink.”

“He doesn’t deserve the fight; he’s crazy in his mind for what he’s saying,” Kape told MMA Junkie. “Cody is a good name. One hundred percent he’s a good name. He was a former champion, but in bantamweight. Right now, flyweight is totally different.”

He continued, “Kai Kara is crazy in the head to think he’s going to fight for the title. It’ll be a good fight if he accepts the fight against me because I believe I have the most knockout power in flyweight. I have more knockouts then many lightweights, heavyweights and bantamweights so we can match to see who has the most power.”

The other name Kape is targeting is No. 3-ranked UFC flyweight Alexandre Pantoja (24-5 MMA, 7-4 UFC), who handed him a loss in his promotional debut. Pantoja defeated Kape via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 184 in February, and Kape would love to get that one back. But according to Kape, he almost had his next fight booked until it fell apart.

“The fights that excite me right now are Kai Kara or Pantoja,” Kape said. “I don’t believe that he’s going to accept, but Kai Kara or Pantoja. I was supposed to fight in February with Tim Elliott, but he refused. First he accepted, then he refused the fight. I was supposed to fight in February.”

To see the full interview with Kape, check out the video below.

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