After twice being forced out of a planned welterweight clash with Leon Edwards due to COVID-19 complications, Khamzat Chimaev will be receiving treatment for the virus in the United States.
Ali Abdelaziz, manager of Chimaev, informed ESPN of the news, stating the UFC was flying Chimaev to Las Vegas for treatment. The news comes less than a week after a video was released where Majdi Shammas, owner of Allstars Training Center, revealed the scary turns Chimaev's battle with COVID has taken in recent months.
"He was really bad," Shammas said while stating Chimaev had been "in and out" of the hospital. "He didn't even do two rounds straight. He did one round and then rested. He started coughing, started feeling ill again, and we had to cancel the training. He even went in an ambulance to the hospital. When he called me, he thought he was going to die."
The fight between Edwards and Chimaev has felt particularly cursed, with Edwards withdrawing from the first scheduled date in December due to his own COVID diagnosis before Chimaev was forced out of their planned Jan. 20 and March 13 dates.
Chimaev emerged as the biggest prospect in the UFC with an incredible 2020. After making his debut for the promotion on July 16 with a dominant second-round submission over John Phillips on Fight Island, he returned just 10 days later for an even more dominant first-round TKO of Rhys McKee.
After having showcased a frighteningly effective ground game, Chimaev returned in September to score a one-punch knockout win over Gerald Meerschaert, cementing that it was time for him to step up his level of competition against someone like Edwards, who is highly ranked and on an eight-fight winning streak.
According to Abdelaziz, the hope is for Chimaev to be able to return and fight by June, but the focus currently is on his long-term health.