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Khamzat Chimaev is without a fight booking so far in 2024 — and judging by pictures uploaded to social media (and swiftly deleted) by the undefeated middleweight contender, it is easy to see why.

‘Borz’ was last seen in action in October where he scored a unanimous decision win over former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman in a fight that appeared certain to tee him up for a shot at the 185-pound held since last August by Sean Strickland. But amid a series of fight announcements revealed by the UFC for its first quarter of this year leading up to UFC 300, Chimaev’s name has been conspicuously absent from the calendar — with Strickland defending his crown against South Africa’s Dricus du Plessis at this month’s UFC 297.

Some of Chimaev’s absesnce was put down to a hand injury he reportedly sustained in the Usman bout — but pictures that appeared online late on Tuesday appear to suggest that the 29-year-old’s health woes were more serious than just that.

“I was very sick, my hand was injured, so I couldn’t return right away,” Chimaev said on line, via translation. “I want to tell all the fountains, I want to see myself in battle more than all of you. I love this job. I will do and prove that I am the best, as always we do, and I will be back soon to training.”

It remains unclear exactly what Chimaev’s health condition was but the images appeared to show his face to be swollen, eyes bloodshot and suffering from a skin complaint.

Previously, Chimaev admitted that he came closed to retiring from mixed martial arts after suffering a particularly bad case of Covid-19.

Chimaev is a perfect 13-0 in his career (7-0 UFC) and has defeated Usman, Kevin Holland and Gilbert Burns in his most recent fights.