Russian star explains retirement decision after unbeaten UFC run
Zabit Magomedsharipov has elaborated on the reasoning behind his decision to step away from his promising mixed martial arts career, and says that he opted to walk away after becoming frustrated at contracted fights falling apart as well as experiencing some health woes.
The Dagestani sensation stepped away with a career record of 18-1, including a six-fight unbeaten streak in the UFC (and a 14-fight win streak overall), despite being one of the more eye-catching prospects on the UFC's featherweight roster.
He was very highly regarded within the organization and appeared to be on the verge of a title bout following his most recent (and final) career fight against American slugger Calvin Kattar in Moscow in 2019.
It emerged late on Wednesday that the 31-year-old Dagestani had notified the UFC that he had decided to retire from professional competition, with reports stating that he is now pursuing a career in medicine in addition to helping his younger brother Khasan, who is signed to Bellator, in his own run up the ranks in mixed martial arts.
In a statement posted to social media on Thursday, Magomedsharipov elaborated on the decision which he said he reached after considering a number of variables in his career.
“Assalamu alaikum friends! I know that many of you were waiting for my return, there was not a single day that someone did not ask when is my next fight was. But I decided to end my pro sports career,” he wrote.
“Disruptions of fights, and then health problems - all this did not allow me to perform/fight earlier. I have recovered now, but I don’t feel the way I used to.
“Thank you to everyone who has supported me for such a long time. I didn’t have time to become a champion, but I think, even without this, I hope I was able to please/entertain you.
“I cease to be an active athlete, but I do not leave the sport. I have something and with whom to share my knowledge.
“So don’t say goodbye, friends!”
The statement confirms Zabit's status as the latest Russian standout to step away from the sport, and follows last year's confirmation that the undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov would retire while holding the UFC's lightweight title.
Another icon of Russian MMA, Fedor Emelianenko, is also set to retire in 2022, with Bellator understood to be seeking an opponent to take on the 45-year-old in one final fight before he walks away into the sunset.