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Midnight Mania! Khamzat Chimaev to train with alligators, smash Neil Magny in July

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It’s been an up-and-down year for Khamzat Chimaev already. The upstart was riding hot into 2021 after his quick trio of dominant victories that began his UFC career, but lingering issues with COVID-19 forced Chimaev out of a main event slot vs. Leon Edwards. Then, Chimaev briefly considered retirement before being pushed back to competition by Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadryov.

Fortunately for “Borz,” things are looking up per manager Ali Abdelaziz, who revealed Chimaev’s timeline and ideal opponent to ESPN. “He’s probably going to start training in the middle of April, and is looking to fight in the beginning of July,” Abdelaziz said. “He’s still getting medical treatment on a daily basis, but he is doing much better. Neil Magny is the guy we have in mind as an opponent, but let’s see what happens.”

Magny and Chimaev have prior beef, so the Welterweight match up would make a lot of sense. It’s not as high-profile as a main event vs. “Rocky,” but perhaps given Chimaev’s relative inexperience and health struggles, that’s a good thing. Regardless of who the opponent ends up, Abdelaziz also revealed that Chimaev intends to train with wild animals as part of his fight camp.

“I think a lot of us don’t truly know what these young fighters go through,” Abdelaziz said. “It’s impossible to live inside their heads and inside their bodies, and sometimes they say things out of frustration or they are just mad they can’t do what they love to do. Khamzat has been doing this all his life, so he’s almost felt crippled not being able to train, but he’s healthy now and he’s going to start training.

“I was talking to him this week and he even said he’s going to be swimming with alligators and sharks, and doing movement with these creatures, as part of a special training program.”

Unless by alligators Chimaev is referring to Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, that seems like an odd strategy. On the bright side, swimming is an excellent way to build up an athlete’s lungs — with or without deadly apex predators in the water!

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