Khamzat Chimaev’s ascent in the UFC has been nothing short of extraordinary. He broke the record for the shortest time span between UFC victories in the contemporary era after making his UFC debut (10 days).
Chimaev hasn’t been as active as he once was, even though he still wants to “smash everybody” and continue being active. This was predominantly due to the cancellation of two highly anticipated showdowns against the current UFC welterweight champion, Leon Edwards. These cancellations ensued from the lingering effects of the COVID-19 virus.
Disappointed with his body’s response to the illness, the 29-year-old also made a short announcement about his retirement. He subsequently said his decision to retire was due to emotional distress.
Chimaev’s last appearance in the octagon materialized in a clash against Kamaru Usman at UFC 294, where he secured victory via a majority decision. Given that Chimaev is the overwhelming favorite to win the UFC gold before the end of 2024, fans have been curious about when he will make a comeback.
Chimaev recently took to X to reveal glimpses of his health ordeal, showcasing graphic images of his struggles. Although he refrained from delving into explicit details, he disclosed that he was suffering from a hand injury and apparent skin infections.
“I was very sick, my hand was injured, so I couldn’t return right away, I want to tell all the fountains, I want to see myself in battle more than all of you, I love this job, I will do and prove that I am the best, as always we do, and I will be back soon to Insha’Allal training.”
Khamzat Chimaev’s meteoric rise has drawn attention to his status as one of the UFC’s most dominating talents. Yet, the initial ferocity witnessed in his early UFC appearances seems to have waned. This is probably due to the high caliber of opponents he encountered in recent bouts.
In a recent segment of the Weighing In podcast, former UFC lightweight contender Josh Thomson echoed prevailing sentiments regarding Chimaev’s trajectory.
He said: “I said this the last time I saw him fight: I’m not sold on him yet. I’m not sold on Khamzat Chimaev. Everyone’s like, ‘You’re stupid, you’re being a hater.’ I’m like, ‘No, I don’t care what you guys say.’ I’ve been in the fight game a long, long time.”
“Fighters come, fighters go. They explode onto the scene and guess what? Then they linger around for a little bit hoping to get back on track, and some of them never do, and some have a resurgence.”