Khamzat Chimaev Warns His Rivals: I’m Still Here

Khamzat Chimaev questioned whether he had cancer when he coughed up blood after a training session in Las Vegas earlier this month, but now that he’s recovering well, he has a message for his rivals.


Chimaev was set to fight Leon Edwards at UFC Fight Island 8 and then at UFC Vegas 21, but had to withdraw both times due to long-term effects of COVID. As a result, he was flown over to Las Vegas from Sweden for treatment by the UFC. His condition got worse however, after he continued to train despite being advised by the doctors to rest.

This resulted in an emotional and frustrated Chimaev announcing his retirement on Instagram, only to backtrack from his decision a day later after reassurances from Dana White and Chechnya leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

Speaking to RT Sport (as transcribed by MMA Fighting), Chimaev said that he’s recovering well now and will start training at full strength in the upcoming months

“All good. I have recovered and started light training,” Chimaev said. “As soon as Ramadan is over we will begin working at 100 percent.”

Gruesome COVID Effects

Chimaev explained the circumstances which led to him announcing his short-lived retirement. Which included questioning whether he had cancer.

“Those were emotional words. I was sick for two months and could not recover from that,” Chimaev explained. “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.”

Warning To Opponents

Now that he is feeling a better, ‘Borz’ has warned his rivals that he’s still very much in the game.

“Some people die because of that disease, but I didn’t,” Chimaev said. “I am still here, unfortunately for my opponents. If you are in shape, training all the time, why should you wait for two, three, four months? When I am fit and injury free I can fight once a week.”

Chimaev burst onto the scene last July when he ‘smashed’ and submitted John Phillips at UFC Fight Island 1. He followed his stunning debut with another impressive victory against Rhys McKee ten days later at UFC Fight Island 3. And then less than two months later at UFC Vegas 11, the 26 year old knocked out veteran fighter Gerald Meerschaert in just 17 seconds.

According to his manager Ali Abdelaziz, Chimaev is eyeing a return to the Octagon in July, and Neil Magny is someone they are looking at as a potential opponent.

Would you be interested in a matchup between Khamzat Chimaev and Neil Magny?

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