Zabit Magomedsharipov likely had a religious awakening and is uninterested in his UFC career

MMA journalist Ariel Helwani recently shared what he knows about UFC featherweight Zabit Magomedsharipov.

Zabit was undefeated in the UFC and managed to become the third-ranked in the featherweight division. The Russian had an epic UFC run while showcasing his amazing grappling skills, including highlight submissions like the “Suloev Stretch” that he used to submit Brandon Davis at UFC 228 in 2018.

Entering 2020, Magomedsharipov was fresh off of a main-event victory against Calvin Kattar on UFC Fight Night 163.

Zabit looked like he was on his way to becoming the second Dagestani to win a UFC title. But life had other plans for the featherweight.

The UFC tried scheduling a potential matchup between Zabid and Yair Rodriguez in August, but the bout eventually got canceled.

When Zabit spent almost a year away from the octagon, fans started growing concerned for the featherweight contender. Later Zabit’s manager, Rizvan Magomedov, issued a statement saying that Zabit was facing health issues.

“Zabit has health problems, and more specifically, with the immune system,” Zabit’s manager told. “Magomedsharipov will not return to the Octagon until these problems are resolved. These problems prevent Zabit from fully preparing for fights.”

However, a recent statement from MMA Journalist Ariel Helwani might shed other light on Zabit’s absence. According to Helwani, Magomedsharipov’s absence might have been “religiously motivated”.

“The biggest what-if of them all, maybe the greatest what-ifs in UFC history is Zabit… He just disappeared. I’ve asked around… I don’t know if he is (coming back),” said Helwani during his show “The MMA Hour”. “From what I was told, he had like, almost like this moral religious dilemma that he was dealing with.

“He’s very religious, and I think he reached a point where he just didn’t wanna do it anymore.”

“His brother fights, and he corners his brother, which I think is really interesting, but obviously everybody’s different. But that’s what I heard. He just reached a point where he was like, ‘No, this isn’t for me.”

“He might go down as one of the biggest what-ifs in UFC history because it looked like the ceiling was so high,” concluded Helwani.

Back in September, Zabit’s coach Mark Henry announced on an Instagram post that the fighter was going to come back to the sport. Since then five months have gone by and no official update has been shared.

If Zabit were to comeback, he would come back to a very different featherweight division. When the Russian started his hiatus, Max Holloway was still the featherweight champion.

Nowadays, Zabit would have to go through one of the most dominant champions in the UFC, Alexander Volkanovski, if he were to win Featherweight gold.