Delayed COVID-19 Recovery Caused Khamzat Chimaev’s Exit from UFC on ESPN 20

By: Tristen Critchfield
Dec 30, 2020


Khamzat Chimaev needed more time to recover after battling COVID-19, and that led to his exit from the UFC on ESPN 20 headliner.

MMAjunkie.com was first to report that Chimaev’s lungs hadn’t fully healed after testing positive for the coronavirus in early December, an issue that was hindering his training as he prepared to face Leon Edwards on Jan. 20 in Abu Dhabi.

"Khamzat had coronavirus and when he went back to gym, his lungs did not recover 100 percent,” wrote Chimaev’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, in a statement to ESPN. “He needs time for his lungs to recover, and right now it's about taking that necessary time.”

Chimaev and Edwards were initially scheduled to meet in the UFC Fight Night 183 headliner on Dec. 19, but Edwards’ own struggles with COVID-19 led to the cancellation of that bout. It’s currently unclear if Edwards will remain on the UFC on ESPN 20 card against a new opponent.

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