Last night undefeated UFC welterweight prospect Khamzat Chimaev stunned the MMA world by seemingly announcing his retirement. The 9-0 fighter, who has been battling complications from COVID-19, wrote on Instagram that he thinks he’s done with the sport.
Chimaev, who has wowed fans since debuting for the UFC last summer, wrote:
I want to say thank you to everyone for their support in my path in this sport. I think I’m done. Yes, I know that I didn’t take the belt, but this is not the most important victory in this life. It may upset you, but my heart and body tell me everything.
I want to say a huge thank you to my team @allstarsgymsweden
I want to say thank you so much. @ufc #allhamdulillah
UFC President Dana White has now attempted to downplay this message, telling MMA Junkie that he doesn’t believe Chimaev—a fighter he touted as a potential future champion—will be retiring.
In making this claim, White also revealed details regarding Chimaev’s treatment for symptoms associated with COVID-19.
“When he got here, the doctors took care of him, and they put him on prednisone, which is a nasty f**king steroid,” said White. “So he’s on prednisone, and he’s supposed to be taking this thing and chilling, relaxing, and letting himself recover. He went in and f**king trained today, felt like s**t, and got super emotional and posted that.
“He’s not supposed to be training, but you know, this guy’s a savage. He wants to fight like every f**king weekend, and now he can’t even train, so he just got emotional and posted that, but he ain’t quitting.”
“He was flown out here so that we could take care of him,” continued White. “We get him taken care of. They got him on medication. He’s going to be fine, and he goes in and starts f**king training. He’s not supposed to be training, and he’s super frustrated.
“He’s training when he’s supposed to be resting. He’s got to stay off, at least while he’s on this medication.”
Chimaev had been booked to face Leon Edwards in December for his first ever UFC main event. That bout was pushed back to January after Edwards contracted the coronavirus. The fight was then pushed back to March after Chimaev tested positive for the virus.
The fight was scrapped entirely when it was revealed that Chimaev was suffering hold-over affects of the virus, which left him unable to train.
Despite his battle with COVID-19 Chimaev recently stated he was targeting a June return to the Octagon. He even called out an opponent for that date, telling Neil Magny to “be ready”.
If Chimaev does leave the sport, he does so as one of the most hyped UFC prospects in recent memory. After impressing with BRAVE CF, Chimaev made his first UFC appearance last July against John Phillips.
He won that fight via second round d’arce choke. He followed that win up with a TKO victory over Rhys McKee two weeks later. Less than two months later he scored a 17 second knockout over Gerald Meerschaert.