Khamzat Chimaev has apparently retired from MMA. The 26-year-old, who was hailed as the ‘next big thing’ by UFC president Dana White, recently took to Instagram and shared a picture of himself alongside a heartfelt message. The Lone Wolf thanked fans for the support “in my path in this sport,” while also praising his teammates and the UFC.
“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,” he added.
Khamzat Chimaev, who was one of the breakout stars of 2020, might have made the decision to hang his gloves after his recent struggles with COVID-19. The Lone Wolf was set to fight Leon Edwards in December, but the bout was postponed after Rocky tested positive for COVID-19. The fight was then rebooked for January, but this time Chimaev tested positive, forcing the bout to be pushed back to March. However, with Chimaev still showing lingering effects of the virus, UFC was forced to cancel the fight.
From Khamzat Chimaev’s Instagram (and translated through Instagram) pic.twitter.com/EiJYKroClj— Spinnin Backfist (@SpinninBackfist) March 2, 2021
If Khamzat Chimaev indeed retired due to COVID-19, that is no doubt a scary situation. A few weeks ago, his manager, Majdi Shammas, revealed that when Chimaev was rushed to the hospital due to a high fever, stemming from COVID-19, the 26-year-old believed that he was going to “die”. However, Chimaev later added that he’s targeting a return in June, but now with his recent announcement, it can be said that his body has not fully recovered from the virus which has forced him to retire early.
Khamzat Chimaev is currently 3-0 in the UFC, coming off a one-punch KO win over Gerald Meerschaert. Before that, he battered both Rhys McKee and John Phillips in a 10-day stretch on Fight Island, making him a major threat at the welterweights. A win over Leon Edwards might have elevated his career, but it appears that he won’t get a chance to do so as he ends his MMA career with a record of 9-0.
A few hours after Chimaev announced his retirement, Dana White told MMA Junkie that Khamzat Chimaev has not retired, claiming that the Lone Wolf made the announcement as he was ‘super emotional’. “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,” Dana White added.