UFC star Khamzat Chimaev’s career skyrocketed last year only to see all that incredible momentum go by the wayside after the star came down with COVID-19. The 26-year-old hinted at retirement on social media in March but reaffirmed his commitment to fighting soon after that. Now, Chimaev is hoping to get back to action as soon as possible, but it looks like the UFC welterweight contender will have plenty of work ahead of him to make it back down to the 170-pound divisional limit. Chimaev revealed to ESPN he’s ballooned all the way past 205 pounds.
“I am more than 93 kilos [205 pounds], feeling stronger. I just started to train with my team, and I will find [an opponent] to kill,” Chimaev said per ESPN.
Staying there would make “Borz” a heavyweight competing against the likes of Francis Ngannou, so Chimaev will have more than 35 pounds of weight to lose before his next fight.
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Drastic Weight Loss Common in Combat Sports
While 35 pounds or more seems like a lot to the average person, it’s not actually that rare for combat sports athletes to lose a significant amount of weight before their fights. In a recent interview on Joe Rogan’s podcast, UFC lightweight Dustin Poirier revealed he once had to shed more than 30 pounds in a single week for a fight.
So fighters almost always have to fight the battle of the bulge.
Make that double for fighters who haven’t competed in over six months and probably triple for people who were hit hard by COVID symptoms.
Still, it is something Chimaev will need to do if he hopes to get back to action again at 170.
Chimaev was ranked No. 14 in the UFC’s welterweight division after his breakout campaign in 2020, but now the prospect has been dropped from the UFC’s rankings completely.
Last year, Chimaev competed in both the 170-pound welterweight and 185-pound middleweight divisions, so he could potentially fight at 185 in 2021, too.
Chimaev is 3-0 in UFC fights. He won all three fights by knockout, and he seemed on the verge of superstar status when his career was derailed at the end of 2020.
He was supposed to face Leon Edwards next, but now Edwards is heading into his own megafight against Nate Diaz in the co-main event of UFC 264 on May 15.
So Chimaev will be looking for another opponent for his first fight back in 2021, and he’s still considered to be a fighter on the rise in the sport.
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Chimaev Excited About Future: ‘Smash Everybody’
Getting over his illness was difficult, but Chimaev told ESPN he’s excited about his future plans.
“If you are sick, you cannot think about [a] fight,” Chimaev said. “I was thinking, ‘One month, sick. Then still, two months. When am I going to be finished with this s***?’ I’m healthy now, hungry again. I want to get back and smash somebody and make money.”
He’s known for his call-outs of anyone and everyone in the UFC, and he still sees himself as the UFC’s next big thing. In fact, Chimaev compared himself to heavyweight boxing legends Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali.
Khamzat Chimaev is on the mend from a difficult bout with COVID-19, telling @bokamotoESPN he has resumed training and would like to fight in August.
When The Wolf returns, he's planing to show the world who he really is 🌎 pic.twitter.com/d4qwy087ak
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) April 20, 2021
Per ESPN, he said, “I only did in UFC only three fights. I didn’t show who I am. People still talk like ‘Ah, he beat some bulls*** guys.’ That makes me [feel] inside somewhere like now I have to show to these bulls*** people who I am, to smash everybody, to take my belt, and show to these guys who is the best in the world. I am, in MMA, Mike Tyson. I am, in MMA, Muhammad Ali. I’m going to show it to everybody.”
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