Zabit Magomedsharipov has added further doubt to talk of an Octagon return by announcing that he’s pursuing a career in the medical field.
The once highly-touted featherweight hasn’t been in action since November 2019, when he headlined a Moscow-held UFC Fight Night card against current top-five contender Calvin Kattar. After emerging victorious, and extending his professional record to 18-1 and his active win streak to 14, Zabit was being tipped for greatness.
Fast forward to today and he’s been absent from the cage for over two years in mysterious circumstances, leading to him losing his #3 spot in the 145-pound rankings. But with the latest revelation, it seems fighting is far from his mind.
The 31-year-old has long been regarded as the biggest ‘what-if’ in mixed martial arts, and it appears that branding will remain.
Taking to Instagram, the Dagestani posted an image of himself working on a laptop at a Doctors of the World facility, an organization that describes itself as “an independent humanitarian movement working at home and abroad to empower excluded people to access healthcare.”
Translated from Russian, the caption to Zabit’s post reads, “A new name will soon appear in the medical world of Makhachkala.”
Zabit Trades The Hurt Game For The Healing Game
News of Zabit’s pursuit of success outside of the fight game comes just weeks after renowned MMA journalist Ariel Helwani revealed a potential reason for the Dagestani’s decision to distance himself from the cage.
While it’s previously been reported that a health issue related to his immune system has kept Zabit on the sidelines, Helwani revealed a different reason he’d been told in relation to the former Absolute Championship Berkut featherweight titleholder’s lengthy and ongoing period of inactivity during an edition of The MMA Hour earlier this month.
“The biggest what-if of them all, maybe the greatest what-ifs in UFC history is Zabit… He just disappeared. I’ve asked around… I don’t know if he is (coming back),” said Helwani. “From what I was told, he had like, almost like this moral religious dilemma that he was dealing with. He’s very religious, and I think he reached a point where he just didn’t wanna do it anymore.”
While that theory remains unconfirmed, it would certainly be fitting for Zabit to swap the gloves for the medical utensils if a religious dilemma is what’s been keeping his fists open.
Interestingly, though, Zabit’s announcement also comes just days after his manager Ali Abdelaziz seemingly hinted that the Dagestani would be returning to the cage in the coming months. The 145lber’s coach provided a similarly positive update last September.
While Zabit’s post isn’t necessarily a confirmation of his plans to stay firmly away from the Octagon, and he certainly wouldn’t be the first to balance another occupation with martial arts, the fact that he’s found a new passion during his absence perhaps says everything fans need to know.
What do you make of Zabit Magomedsharipov’s decision to pursue a career in medicine?