Seemingly fully recovered from the lingering effects of his battle with Covid, Khamzat Chimaev says he is aiming for four fights in the UFC octagon this year in two different weight classes to get himself back on track.

Chimaev’s rapid rise was halted with a coronavirus infection which finally put paid to a high-profile showdown with welterweight standout Leon Edwards earlier this year, as the Russian-born star threatened to walk away from the sport due to the toll the illness had taken on him.

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After specialist treatment with the UFC in Las Vegas and some persuasive input from Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, the 27-year-old Chimaev is aiming to make a comeback in August – which he signaled will merely be the start of a four-fight assault alternating between the welterweight and middleweight ranks.

“I’m fighting in August 170 lb, September 185 lb, November 170 lb, December 185 lb, be ready,” Chimaev tweeted this weekend, tagging UFC boss Dana White and matchmakers Mick Maynard and Sean Shelby.

Chimaev’s explosive arrival on the UFC scene came last summer when he won three fights in the space of 66 days – starting with victory over John Phillips at middleweight, followed by a first-round win over Rhys McKee at welterweight and then another first-round stoppage over Gerald Meerschaert at 185lbs.

For his next outing, the Swedish-based star has a firm name in mind – welterweight contender Neil Magny, who earned a gritty decision victory over Geoff Neal in Las Vegas on Saturday night to return to the win column.

Chimaev and Magny have traded online barbs in recent months, with the former vowing to give his rival a “real Chechen slap” when they meet in the octagon.

Magny is still the name on Chimaev’s lips and he reiterated his wish to face the American on Saturday, tweeting: “[Neil Magny] you’re fighting me next. Don’t run like chicken. We will see who slaps who in cage.”

After picking up an 18th UFC win, Magny expressed a preference for Vicente Luque as his next opponent – but wasn’t backing down from the gauntlet laid down by ‘Borz’.

“If he wants to get an ass-whooping this summer, I’m ready to give it to him,” said the ninth-ranked Magny of Chimaev.

“He’s been chirping away on social media… I’d absolutely welcome that opportunity.”

Magny, 33, will be targeting a record-equaling 19th win at welterweight – to draw him level with the great Georges St-Pierre.

Ranked 15th among the UFC welterweights, Chimaev will be chasing a 10th win on his thus-far undefeated record.

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