COVID-19 has forced Khamzat Chimaev (9-0) out of his upcoming fight with Leon Edwards (18-3) yet again.
UFC president Dana White told ESPN on Thursday that the lingering physical effects of the disease have forced Chimaev to withdraw a second time.
Chimaev and Edwards were originally supposed to fight on the last event of 2020, however, Edwards tested positive for COVID-19. The fight was pushed back a month later, but Chimaev had to pull out this time due to COVID. The fight was scheduled a third time for the main event of a March 13, 2021 fight night, but once again, COVID-19 has reared its ugly head and left Edwards without an opponent.
According to White, the UFC will move on from the match-up while Chimaev makes his recovery. Edwards is expected to book a different opponent and potentially move to a new date.
Edwards has not fought since July of 2019 when he defeated Rafael dos Anjos via unanimous decision. He was supposed to fight Tyron Woodley in a main event in front of his hometown and country last year, but unfortunately, UFC London was the first UFC event to be lost due to the global pandemic. Having a hard time getting a fight because he felt a title shot was within his grasp, Edwards had been holding out for a big fight.
With Chimaev seemingly out of the picture, for now, Stephen Thompson has thrown his name into the mix, of course, in the nicest way possible.
If Edwards is out of the main event for March 13, the card looks like this currently:
- Dan Ige vs. TBD
- Eryk Anders vs. Darren Stewart
- Charles Jourdain vs. Steve Garcia
- Davey Grant vs. Jonathan Martinez
- Matthew Semelsberger vs. Jason Witt
- Jinh Yu Frey vs. Gloria de Paula
- Tagir Ulanbekov vs. Matheus Nicolau
- Ben Rothwell vs. Philipe Lins
- Zubaira Tukhugov vs. Ricardo Ramos
- Rani Yahya vs. Ray Rodriguez
- Don Madge vs. Nasrat Haqparast