Rumors about Chimaev’s potential involvement picked on Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour, when MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani revealed that the undefeated Chechen has been floated as a possible opponent by the UFC for either middleweight champion Dricus du Plessis or welterweight champion Leon Edwards in two of the matchups the promotion has looked to book as a main event. Unfortunately, with the holy month of Ramadan ending just days before UFC 300 begins on April 13, Chimaev says he won’t be available for that card.
“I will fight everybody,” Chimaev told MMA Uncensored. “Leon [Edwards], [Dricus] du Plessis, anyone, but not [during] Ramadan. I think Ramadan [is during] UFC 300.
“Maybe somebody in Saudi Arabia. I want to fight there. Not fighting in Ramadan anymore.”
Ramadan starts on March 10 and ends on April 9, with practicing Muslims required to observe strict fasting with no food or water whatsoever during daytime hours. The UFC’s debut trip to Saudi Arabia is scheduled to take place June 22 in Riyadh.
Back in 2022, Chimaev fought Gilbert Burns just days after Ramadan began in what was ultimately his final fight at welterweight. Chimaev then fought at a catchweight against Kevin Holland followed by a move to middleweight for his most recent bout against Kamaru Usman.
This year, Ramadan ends just as UFC 300 fight week begins, which means Chimaev would be finishing up a month-long fast before competing.
Of course, Chimaev isn’t the only Muslim who has passed on fighting around Ramadan. Former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov famously refused to compete anywhere around Ramadan during his career, which usually meant his fights were reserved for the first or last part of any given year.
Meanwhile, Belal Muhammad has fought during Ramadan throughout his career, although he admits it’s a personal choice that he makes while respecting anyone else who opts out.
“I’m just one of those where I’ve been doing it my whole life,” Muhammad said back in 2018. “Like in high school, I played football and I always trained around Ramadan, and I feel like nowadays it’s tougher. Like mentally, it pushes me to a whole different level.”