Once upon a time, Zabit Magomedsharipov was looked upon as a future UFC champion.
As recently as November 2019, the Dagestani featherweight was making steps towards a seemingly inevitable title shot. Then, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Zabit all but disappeared from competition.
Health issues (specifically with his immune system), and plans to become a doctor, appeared to take Magomedsharipov’s mind off fighting. And while his brother continues to compete for Bellator MMA, Zabit’s days as a UFC fighter are officially over.
On Wednesday, MMA Fighting was the first of multiple outlets to report that the 31-year old had informed the UFC of his retirement.
If his retirement sticks, Magomedsharipov will likely go down as one of the biggest what-ifs in UFC history. His 18-1 record includes wins over Jeremy Stephens and Calvin Kattar — and he essentially walked away from the fight game just as he was set to break through to the next level.
Magomedsharipov last competed at UFC Moscow in 2019, earning a Fight of the Night bonus for his unanimous decision victory over Kattar. He won all six of his fights inside the octagon, and against Brandon Davis in 2018, pulled off the rarely-seen Suloev stretch. Somehow, that performance did not earn him a Performance of the Night bonus.
Zabit Magomedsharipov did capture four post-fight bonuses in his six UFC victories, however.
A fight against Yair Rodriguez had been booked for August 2020, one of several attempts to pair the fighters up. After Rodriguez was injured, the fight fell through — with that being the last attempt to usher Magomedsharipov into the cage.