Khamzat Chimaev is aiming for a UFC comeback fight in the coming months and his manager Ali Abdelaziz has seen encouraging signs from the top welterweight contender since his recovery from COVID-19.
The 26-year-old has returned to the Allstar Training Center the past couple of weeks and has been joined by two-time UFC light heavyweight title challenger Alexander Gustafsson at the gym in Stockholm, Sweden.
Chimaev (9-0) has not fought since his September 2020 victory over Gerald Meerschaert on Fight Island. He was originally scheduled to face Leon Edwards but was forced to pull out of the contest due to complications he suffered from the coronavirus.
In a shocking turn of events, Chimaev seemingly announced his retirement from mixed martial arts after apparently growing frustrated with the slow process of recovery.
However, UFC president Dana White vehemently denied these claims and revealed Chimaev has received treatment for symptoms commonly associated with COVID-19.
MMA Junkie's John Morgan asked Abdelaziz about his recovery and whether he believes Chimaev can battle his way back to the top of the 170-pound division.
"He had a procedure," Abdelaziz said to MMA Junkie. "Actually, his first day of training was three days ago. He’s coming back with a vengeance, man. He has so much to prove. He was the guy main-eventing. Guess what? COVID rules the world right now, and COVID got him. You see Alexander [Volkanovski], the [UFC] featherweight champion. I hope he’s OK. He had some problems with it. Khamzat had some problems with it. Now he’s 100 percent healthy. He’s back training this week or last week."
Abdelaziz went on to speak about Chimaev's potential as a future star in the making, as well as his plans for a UFC comeback this summer. However, he would not be drawn on a specific date.
"We’ll see him at the end of July (or) August," he added. "Even Dana [White] was asking me the other day. I told him the end of July or August he’ll fight. I told Sean [Shelby], too. Realistically, I think it’s time to slow it down a little bit, but I think he’s going to make a [bigger] statement on the comeback.
"He’s going to keep climbing. He’s a special talent. He’s a superstar, I believe, in the making. All of us will see. Everyone who understands MMA will understand what Khamzat brings. It is what it is, and we have to move on. Sickness can’t control that."
Chimaev came through the Brave CF ranks and burst onto the scene in 2020 with back-to-back stoppage victories over John Phillips and Rhys McKee. He followed that up with a 17-second knockout of Meerschaert in September of last year. The Swedish fighter also owns the UFC record for the fastest consecutive wins in modern UFC history (10 days).News Now - Sport News