Khamzat Chimaev who has a record of 9 – 0 – 0 in his UFC career has decided to end his career at the age of just 26.
Khamzat Chimaev made his professional UFC debut in a middleweight bout against John Philips in July 2016 at UFC, ESPN 13. He impressed the crowd right from the start as he won the fight via submission in the second round which even earned him the Performance of the Night Award. 10 days later, Khamzat did something which no other fighter has ever done before. He came back into the Octagon just ten days after defeating Philips to face newcomer Rhys McKee in the welterweight division. He finished things for McKee quickly by knocking him out in the very first round of the bout. This victory marked a new UFC record for the fastest consecutive wins in modern UFC history. That night also saw him pick up his second “Performance of the Night” award.
I’m coming for all of you. And will smash everybody 👊🏼 pic.twitter.com/4Ml8H3CPah
— Khamzat Chimaev (@KChimaev) December 16, 2020
In September 2020, Chimaev had the opportunity to turn his career around when his match against Gerald Meerschaert was confirmed at UFC Fight Night 178. It took him just seventeen seconds in the first round to knock Meerschaert out, which earned him his third consecutive performance of the night award. In addition, he set another new record for the fastest winning streak in modern UFC History, of sixty-six days.
March 13th. Rocky vs Khamzat. Mark those calendars. pic.twitter.com/3gdeDNlw7x
— UFC (@ufc) January 20, 2021
Before getting into UFC Fight Night 183, Chimaev was ranked #15 and was scheduled to face Leon Edwards in the main event. The fight against Leon Edwards, a welterweight standout with a winning streak of eight fights, seemed to be the right path for a fighter to grab the eyeballs of fans across the globe. On November 29, just two weeks before the match, Chimaev unfortunately became the victim of the COVID-19 virus. Subsequently, the match was postponed to UFC Fight night 185 on January 20, 2021. Chimaev then had to momentarily cancel the match with his recovery taking longer than he had imagined. Edwards and Chimaev headlined yet again at UFC Fight Night 187, on March 13. The UFC President Dana White soon announced that the fight was once again canceled due to Chimaev suffering from lingering effects of COVID-19. It was the third time the fight was canceled!
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) March 2, 2021
On 1st March 2021, Chimaev stated on Instagram, “I want to say thank you to everyone for their support in my path in this sport. I think I’m done. Yes, I know that I didn’t take the belt, but this is not the most important victory in this life. It may upset you, but my heart and body tell me everything.” This completely sounded like a young man who is frustrated with his body, ultimately having to give up on his flourishing career.
Chimaev’s career may not be over yet as both Dana White and the Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadyrov both said they can’t imagine him retiring from the sport this early. Dana White explained that Chimaev was on prednisone which is a strong steroid after which a person is supposed to take rest but instead, Khamzat went back to his training sessions, which made him feel super emotional and therefore called time on his career in haste. Kadyrov wrote on social media that he had spoken to Khamzat and explained to him that millions of people from Chechen are being inspired by him. He then promised to make every effort to recover from the illness and will soon fly to the republic for rehab and re-start training with precautions. It is still unclear when Khamzat Chimaev will eventually return to the Octagon, but we do know that just like in the Octagon, The Chechen Wolf will fight till the end before he calls time on a career that still has unfulfilled potential!
[Image Credit: Khamzat Chimaev]