UFC welterweight sensation Khamzat Chimaev, who also wrecked shop at 185 pounds, was ready to call it quits this week, telling his social media followers that a long and painful battle with COVID-19 was enough to send him into retirement.
Unfortunately for “Borz,” his career isn’t over until Ramzan Kadyrov says it is.
The Chechen dictator made a public announcement on Monday to soothe the legions of “upset” MMA fans who thought Chimaev was gone for good. And when you have a track record like Kadyrov (sample it here), one phone call is usually all it takes.
MMA Fighting with the translation:
“Friends, you’ve probably already heard the news about Khamzat Chimaev, who announced his departure from the UFC in his account. Not believing my eyes, I called and talked to Chimaev.
“Khamzat said that recovery from illness is slow, and in an attempt to be honest and frank with the fans, he decided not to give them hope.
“I told him that ALL the Chechen people were upset by this news. He reminded Chimaev that all our young people, whom he inspires, are pinning great hopes on his victory, but what can I say - MILLIONS OF FANS IN RUSSIA AND THE WORLD! And if fans need to wait for his return, then we will all look forward to his entry into the octagon with trepidation and patience.
“During our conversation, Chimaev realized how important his career is for every Chechen and promised to make every effort to recover as soon as possible. In the near future he will fly to the republic, where he will complete a rehabilitation course, hold a training camp and start training.
“And this means that Khamzat does not leave, HE REMAINS AND WILL FIGHT TO THE END!
“The heart and body whispered, “It’s all over!” - that is how Khamzat wrote on Instagram. But the Chechen SPIRIT and the will to win shouted to him, ‘Forward!’ Therefore, I know for sure that Khamzat will take the UFC belt and prove that he is the best of the best!
“And I urge the fans to make [an Islamic prayer], and ask the Almighty for health and a speedy recovery for our beloved athlete, a Muslim and a real konakh Khamzat Chimaev! Gave autto boila khan, NOHCHIIN BORZ HAMZAT!”
I'm sure it was more than just the Chechen spirit that was whispering.
The 9-0 Chimaev, who turns 27 in May, was a standout wrestler in his youth before eventually relocating to Sweden when he was 19. That said, Chechnya is kind of like Hotel California in that you can check out anytime you like (but you can never leave).
No word yet on if or when Chimaev will return to UFC, but the S.S. Edwards has long since sailed.