Dominance MMA chief Ali Abdelaziz says that Khamzat Chimaev is undertaking a “special training program” ahead of his UFC comeback this summer, admitting that his fighter’s return will likely be against veteran Neil Magny.
Chimaev generated headlines earlier this month when he expressed a desire to retire from mixed martial arts after he experienced complications from a Covid-19 diagnosis which prompted the shelving of a scheduled fight against top-ranked Leon Edwards.
With Chimaev now reversing his hasty decision to step away from the sport this manager, Abdelaziz says that the Chechen-born star is leaving no stone unturned in his preparations for a summer return.
Chimaev burst onto the scene at last summer’s sequence of UFC events on Abu Dhabi’s ‘Fight Island’, besting both John Phillips and Rhys McKee within ten days and in two separate weight divisions before further enhancing his reputation with a stunning one-punch knockout of the experienced Gerald Meerschaert in September.
But after those three wins in just 66 days, Chimaev has encountered repeated roadblocks in his attempts to return to action.
Abdelaziz says Chimaev is set to return to full-time training next month – and he might just have some unconventional training methods devised to return him to fight shape.
“I think a lot of us don’t truly know what these young fighters go through,” Abdelaziz said of Chimaev to ESPN.
“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.”
In true Russian MMA style, Abdelaziz says that some of Chimaev’s upcoming sparring partners aren’t even human. While Khabib Nurmagomedov famously wrestled bears in his youth, Chimaev will take on a whole other level of wild animal.
“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,” Abdelaziz stated.
As for who might feel the brunt of Chimaev’s unconventional training techniques, Abdelaziz says that they have one name in mind.
“Neil Magny is the guy we have in mind as an opponent, but let’s see what happens,” he said. “He’s still getting medical treatment on a daily basis, but he is doing much better.”
There still may be some obstacles to the fight, judging by Magny’s response indicating that he is more than happy to fight Chimaev but doesn’t want to wait until July.
“I will fight him any day of the week,” Magny said. “But there’s no way I’m putting my career on hold so that he could hopefully fight me in July.
“He needs to focus on getting healthy first. The ass-whooping he’s been asking for is long overdue, and is waiting on him.”