UFC star Khamzat Chimaev has provided fans with an update on his future in mixed martial arts.
The 26-year-old Chechen was considered to be the next big thing in the Ultimate Fighting Championship when he first made his way over to the promotion last summer. In the space of ten days, he finished John Phillips and Rhys McKee before returning in September to knock out Gerald Meerschaert.
Now, six months later, his future is in serious doubt due to the lingering repercussions of his COVID-19 illness.
The Chimaev dilemma
A few weeks back Chimaev announced that he would be retiring from MMA, only for UFC president Dana White to come out and suggest that it was simply an emotional decision he made due to the medication he was on to treat his issues.
Now, on Instagram Live, Khamzat has once again provided fans with a U-turn by implying he’ll be back soon.
"I feel good brother. Alhamdulillah everything is good. Soon we'll be back. I'll smash everybody."
Chimaev was booked to fight Leon Edwards on several occasions, only for the contest to consistently fall through as a result of COVID-19. Edwards wound up returning this past weekend in a no contest against Belal Muhammad.
In truth, nobody can know for sure what’s going to happen to Chimaev aside from the man himself and his doctors. It’d be one of the biggest “what ifs” in the history of MMA if he has to stick to his retirement, but if he can fight back against this and really put a run together at welterweight or middleweight, then he could mix with the top 15 up in either weight class.
If and when he does return, a lot of fans think the UFC would be smart to give him someone either between 10th-15th in the rankings or perhaps even lower, if only to see where his body is at after what he’s been through.
Still, given what we’ve seen already in his 3-0 UFC run, it can be really easy to get carried away with where his potential ceiling is.
Watch this space, because this Chimaev saga isn’t over by a long shot.