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Dana White gives his take on the future of Khamzat Chimaev

LockerRoom Team
Calendar Icon18 June 2024

Khamzat Chimaev made a significant impact by delivering three impressive performances within his first two months in the UFC. However, Chimaev's activity has slowed considerably, with only four fights since early 2021. He was set to face former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker in the main event at UFC Saudi Arabia, but had to withdraw at the last minute due to illness.

UFC CEO Dana White confirmed that Chimaev is currently very sick, but the exact nature of his illness remains unclear.

“We really don’t know what’s wrong,” White said on The Jim Rome Show. “I saw footage of him violently ill on the ground. He was hospitalized again and hadn’t trained for several days. We couldn’t put him into a fight next weekend.”

Chimaev has struggled with long-term issues stemming from a previous COVID-19 infection. At one point, the 30-year-old even considered retirement while trying to recover. Though he eventually returned to competition, his inactivity has hindered his momentum, especially after moving up to the 185-pound division.

Chimaev last fought in November, defeating former UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman in a competitive match at 185 pounds. However, he hasn't fought since, and this latest setback raises further questions about his future.

ALSO READ | Khamzat Chimaev talks about possible fight with Conor McGregor

“I saw him on Fight Island, eager to fight the next weekend, and he looked incredible,” White said. “But lately, it’s been hard to get him into the octagon. Every time he’s close to fighting, he gets very sick. We don’t know how long he’ll be out. He’s not in the country, so we haven’t had our doctors look at him. It’s tough to deal with.”

With Chimaev out, the UFC has scheduled Robert Whittaker to fight promising prospect Ikram Aliskerov. Aliskerov, who has a 2-0 record in the octagon with both wins by knockout, has only one career loss, which was to Chimaev in 2019. Now, Aliskerov has the opportunity to surpass his former opponent in the rankings with a win over Whittaker on Saturday.

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