A lot of fighter’s in the UFC were productive in 2020, but perhaps none more than Khamzat Chimaev. The Chechnyan was able to get three stoppage wins inside of a combined five minutes. His debut in July was quickly followed by a fight at welterweight just ten days later.
The question MMA fans have been asking is when we will see him make his return. After defeating Gerald Meerschaert in September, Chimaev was slated to take a huge step up the rankings and fight Leon Edwards. What followed was three bout cancellations due to COVID-19, of which Chimaev had rather devastating lingering effects.
He has since returned to the gym and seems to be preparing for a fight camp. Why on earth has it taken so long to get something scheduled for him? His 9-0 record will draw the eyes of fans, but the hype has certainly died down on the prospect who grabbed headlines all last fall.
The issue may be Chimaev buying into his own hype a bit much. It is hard to root for somebody hand picking opponents after having three consecutive bookings fall through. Luke Rockhold stated that Chimaev declined a matchup offered to him, with the excuse being Chimaev’s interest in now just 170 pounders.
Eyebrows were also raised yesterday as Ali Abdelaziz seems to have parted ways with Chimaev. The Dominance MMA roster no longer has him listed, and the pair are no longer following one another on Instagram. Abdelaziz was never really the manager for Chimaev but did handle a majority of his affairs while competing in the United States.
Perhaps this split indicates a change in Chimaev’s career path. We will hopefully soon hear when his next bout will be. I have my fingers crossed that Neil Magny shares the cage with him before the year’s end.