Damir Ismagulov is delaying his retirement.
Due to ‘circumstances and health problems,’ Ismagulov announced he was ending his career earlier this month. The announcement was quite a surprise, as ‘Qazaq’ was considered one of the best fighters in the UFC lightweight division.
However, Ismagulov may not be done yet. On Instagram, the 31-year-old revealed he has one fight left on his current UFC contract. He has decided to complete it, but he has a special request for the promotion regarding an opponent.
“Recently, [my manager Sayat Abdrakhmanov] informed me that I have one more fight left under my contract with UFC,” wrote Ismagulov in Russian. “There were many offers from other leagues where fees were way higher and you could go in there and make money, but I came to UFC, not for the money but for the legacy, to prove to myself that I can compete against the strongest fighters! I finished my career, but after finding out I had another fight under my contract, I decided to go back and finish it! We accept to repay our debts!
“In my last fight, I lost to Arman Tsarukyan, who is one of the strongest lightweight fighters in UFC,” continued Ismagulov. ‘I would have let go of this moment if I knew I did everything I could and still lost. I think we can do the fight a lot better, more spectacular than five rounds or three, doesn’t matter! We promised the fans to finish our fight early! [UFC president Dana White], [Sayat Abdrakhmanov], [UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby], give us a rematch. Let’s hold the last battle with fireworks.”
Tsarukyan defeated Ismagulov by unanimous decision at UFC Vegas 66 this past December. That loss was his first in the UFC and his second as a professional.
Prior to that, the former M-1 Global champion was on a 19-fight win streak that included decisions against Joel Álvarez, Thiago Moisés and Guram Kutateladze. When he expects to return to the Octagon remains to be seen, but we have one more Ismagulov appearance to look forward to this year.
About the author: Kristen King is a writer for Bloody Elbow. She has covered combat sports since 2016. (full bio)