Khamzat Chimaev has been battling COVID-19 for the last several weeks and it’s cost him not one, but two main events against fellow welterweight attraction Leon Edwards, including the UFC Fight Island headliner on Jan. 20 in Abu Dhabi.
But despite his protracted recovery process, “Borz” refused to wear a mask when talking to the media — in the presence of fans — during his latest public appearance. Reactions were mixed on both YouTube and Twitter, as they are with most mask topics.
“I had to pull out because of the virus,” Chimaev said (via RT Sport). “That was a month ago. Right now I’m recovering. I feel better and will train at home. My head was hurting so I took a test and it came back positive.”
Chimaev, 26, was not medically cleared to compete after his lungs failed to recover in time for competition. Edwards was subsequently pulled from the card as well and the promotion is expected to rebook their showdown for later this spring.
The delay of game may have taken some of the momentum from the Chimaev hype train, which picked up speed last September when “Borz” rattled off three straight wins (and three straight finishes), including his 17-second knockout over Gerald Meerschaert.
No doubt a victory over Edwards would get Chimaev right back into this conversation.