Fight fans have been awaiting the return of Chimaev, who is a rising prospect. The Russian-born Swedish bruiser missed out on the biggest fight of his young pro MMA career against Leon Edwards due to COVID-19. The good news is Chimaev’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, revealed that his fighter is now 100 percent healthy and ready to return.
Taking to his YouTube channel, Sonnen shared his theory on why Chimaev won’t be sharing the Octagon with Rockhold (h/t SportsKeeda.com).
“He (Khamzat Chimaev) is coming back from a very serious, very public case of COVID, where he didn’t know if he would ever fight again, didn’t know if he could ever even train again. He was having respiratory issues. It struck me at the time when this guy comes back. He needs to be responsible.
“When you’re living a character and that character has caught on, it’s very hard. You’ll protect that identity with anything you can do. It’s very responsible for him to step in and go ‘guys, everything you’re saying is cool. I got to have three rounds. I just went through something I could barely even breathe and that was without working out. I was sitting perfectly still. I was laying in bed and I could barely breathe. I got to have three rounds.'”
Sonnen says he feels Chimaev ultimately shouldn’t be criticized for playing it safe upon his return.
“I remember reading what he was going through and thinking ‘when he comes back, he needs to be cautious to not go on the main event’. I don’t believe that we should grade him down for that.”
Do you agree with Chael Sonnen’s theory?