Khamzat Chimaev was the 2020 breakout fighter of the year, at the very least. UFC president Dana White said it might have been the most impressive league debut ever. Then, a head of a scheduled fight vs. Leon Edwards, he contracted COVID-19; the effects were such that he publicly contemplated retirement.
In a recent interview with RT Sports, "Borz" said he's still here, "unfortunately for my opponents."
“All good. I have recovered and started light training,” said Chimaev. “As soon as Ramadan is over we will begin working at 100 percent.”
“Those were emotional words [about retirement]. I was sick for two months and could not recover from that. It was too long... I was feeling sick, stressed by the fact that I could not fight, could not even train. That’s why I posted it. It wasn’t like I gave my word that I would retire. I said, ‘Maybe it’s over for me.’ Maybe it’s over, maybe it’s not. I don’t know. We don’t know what the Almighty has prepared for us. Maybe I will die tomorrow. Maybe something will happen to my opponent and the fight will be postponed. Everything at the will of the Almighty...
“I was doing good at first, then they told me I could start cardio training and I felt sick again. I went to the bathroom and started coughing up blood. That just messed up my mind a bit. Honestly, it scared me... Cancer? Like, I have been sick for so long, why doesn’t it go away? Different thoughts were going through my mind, plus I was alone there in Las Vegas, struggling to overcome it all.”
Chimaev left Las Vegas and flew back to Grozny, Chechnya, where, after some encouraging words from Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov, he's back in the game.
“Some people die because of that disease, but I didn’t,” said Chimaev. “I am still here, unfortunately for my opponents.”
It's believed that the undefeated Chimaev will fight #9 ranked welterweight Neil Magny at some point this summer.
“If you are in shape, training all the time, why should you wait for two, three, four months?” asked Chimaev concluded“When I am fit and injury-free I can fight once a week.”