The future of Zabit Magomedsharipov and his ability to compete inside the octagon is currently unknown.
The last time we saw the elite-level featherweight in the UFC was back in November 2019. That night, he defeated Calvin Kattar and took his UFC record to 6-0. The fight also took his overall professional mixed martial arts record to 18-1.
The curious case of Zabit Magomedsharipov
The majority of fans felt as if Zabit would then fight another top contender before potentially fighting for the belt, but that hasn't happened as of the time of writing.
In actuality, Zabit was removed from the featherweight rankings courtesy of his inactivity.
Recent reports implied that Zabit could walk away from the UFC and MMA entirely, suggesting he has very little motivation to fight right now. The 30-year-old is only just entering the prime of his career and could quite easily be a force to be reckoned with in the division for many more years to come. Alas, if this report is to be believed, we may never see Zabit Magomedsharipov fulfill his true potential.
From a physical standpoint, there are suggestions he could undergo some kind of surgery soon. With the UFC removing him from their rankings, there are definitely warning signs everywhere you look. If this comes down to the mental aspect of fighting and whether he even wants to train, then walking away could be the best possible move for the Russian and his mental wellbeing.
If Zabit Magomedsharipov waits much longer and then changes his mind, the landscape at featherweight could look very different.
Holloway and Ortega are obviously still top contenders, with Alexander Volkanovski sitting at the helm. But that could all change in the blink of an eye.
Volkanovski will be one half of the coaching line-up opposite the aforementioned Ortega in next season's The Ultimate Fighter. After that, the two are set to compete for the UFC featherweight title.
Zabit Magomedsharipov, on the other hand, may or may not be watching on from afar.