Khamzat Chimaev releases first statement after withdrawal from fight against Robert Whittaker at UFC Saudi Arabia


Khamzat Chimaev was set to headline the first UFC event in Saudi Arabia and earn a shot at a middleweight title shot, but unfortunately those plans changed last week.

Chimaev was set to make his first appearance of 2024 in a major fight against former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker this Saturday before he was forced to pull out of the fight due to illness. Chimaev will now have to watch his former opponent Ikram Aliskerov take on Whittaker in the new headliner.

The undefeated Chimaev posted his first comments since the withdrawal on his Instagram page on Monday.

“We are always planning something, but Allah has his own plans for us,” Chimaev wrote.

So far, there are no further details about Chimaev's illness or a timetable for when he can return to the Octagon.

UFC CEO Dana White said in his announcement of the new UFC main event in Saudi Arabia that Chimaev became “seriously ill” during the final stages of preparation for Whittaker. The Jim Rome Show On Monday, White continued to confirm this, but also acknowledged that Chimaev's performance has been somewhat of a mystery in recent years.

“I saw this kid on Fight Island, he wanted to fight the next weekend,” White said. “I had him fight the next weekend. He looked incredible. He was in top shape and it's been difficult to get him in the Octagon lately.”

“Every time he is about to fight, he gets really sick. I don't know [how long he’s going to be out]. I don't know what to say. It's not like he's here in this country and we have doctors here to examine him or anything. He's kind of out of touch with the world, so it's hard to deal with.”

“Borz” returned to action after a 13-month layoff when he faced former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman at UFC 294 last October. After an incredible first round where he laid waste to his opponent, things got a little dicey in the next two rounds as Usman fought back and made it a very competitive fight. In the end, Chimaev won by majority decision, improving his record to 13-0.