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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Khamzat Chimaev: UFC fighter has ‘no intention’ to retire through illness

Khamzat Chimaev’s manager has said the unbeaten UFC sensation is not considering ending his career despite his long-term health issues continuing with his withdrawal from his scheduled fight against Robert Whittaker.

Chimaev had been set to face Whittaker on June 22 but has been hospitalised by illness, continuing a run of absences which began when he was badly affected by a Covid infection in 2020 and 2021.

“Khamzat has no intention of retiring,” the 30-year-old’s manager, Mahdi Shammas, told Tass, responding to speculation around the fighter who has competed once since September 2022.

Nicknamed ‘Borz’, Chimaev has a reputation for quick finishes and a perfect 13-fight record, as well as an immense popularity which has earned him more than eight million Instagram followers.

Speaking after Chimaev withdrew, Shammas said that the prospect of headlining the UFC’s first event in Saudi Arabia had been a “great honour” for his client and “something that was very much looked forward to”.

Chimaev retirement: ‘Persistent illness’

“This is a devastating turn of events for Khamzat, his coaches, training partners and other members of the team,” added Shammas.

“The persistent illness that Khamzat has been battling for major parts of training camp could not be cured in time.

“He has been in and out of hospitals several times. The condition has been kept within the team, since everyone has been absolutely committed to finding a solution.

“The situation is not simple. Khamzat will undergo additional examinations to understand what to do next.”

Chimaev record

Middleweight Chimaev shot to prominence by securing two swift wins in 10 days after joining the UFC.

Successive first-round victories followed before decision wins over experienced contenders Gilbert Burns and Kamaru Usman, as well as a first-minute submission of Kevin Holland.

Ikram Aliskerov, who Chimaev knocked out in the first round of their fight for Brave CF in 2019, will replace him against Whittaker in the headline scrap.

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