Khamzat Chimaev reveals cancer misdiagnosis led to brief 2021 retirement: “It’s in your head”

By Josh Evanoff - October 20, 2023

UFC middleweight contender Khamzat Chimaev has revealed why he briefly retired in 2021.

Khamzat Chimaev, UFC 273, UFC

‘Borz’ is set to return to the cage on Saturday night at UFC 294 against Kamaru Usman. For Khamzat Chimaev, the fight will be the biggest of his career to date and has title stakes. If he can get through ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’, the middleweight will get a future title shot against Sean Strickland.

However, all of this seemed impossible just two or so years ago. In March 2021, Khamzat Chimaev seemingly announced his retirement, but took it back days later. In the time since then, the Chechen hasn’t discussed the situation at length. But, he has now.

Now, Khamzat Chimaev has revealed that it was a cancer misdiagnosis that resulted in his brief retirement. According to the middleweight contender, he was coughing up blood and was told by one doctor that he had cancer. While one doctor eventually told him that he didn’t, the whole saga took a toll on his mental health, and forced him to retire.


Khamzat Chimaev

“That time was hard man,” Khamzat Chimaev stated on the Full Send Podcast discussing his brief 2021 retirement. “It’s not the same man. You know that one time I said, the doctor said to me coming down, that ‘You have a cancer’, man. That’s why I said I was retired, I didn’t know what to say to my family. I didn’t know what to say to the people.”

He continued, “Then we check again, the other doctor said ‘No, you don’t have cancer’, [but I’m] still coughing up blood… Still, once if a doctor said something to you, it’s in your head. You still go home, and you’re coughing up blood and s*it. [It’s like], I’m finished man.”

What do you make of these comments from Khamzat Chimaev? Do you believe he’ll defeat Kamaru Usman at UFC 294?


Khamzat Chimaev UFC