Khamzat Chimaev withdraws from Jan. 20 Leon Edwards fight

A highly anticipated welterweight bout between Leon Edwards and Khamzat Chimaev on Jan. 20 is now off after Chimaev was forced to withdraw while recovering from COVID-19, his manager said.

"Khamzat had coronavirus, and when he went back to the gym, his lung has not recovered 100 percent," manager Ali Abdelaziz said. "He took X-ray and blood test and ... he need more time for his lungs to recover. As you know, the coronavirus attacks people's lungs, and right now, it's about taking that necessary time for him to heal correctly."

The 170-pound matchup was scheduled to headline UFC Fight Night on Jan. 20 in Abu Dhabi. The UFC has elevated a welterweight fight between Michael Chiesa and Neil Magny to the main event on Jan. 20 and will look to rebook the Edwards-Chimaev matchup at a later date, multiple sources told ESPN on Wednesday, confirming a report by The Schmo.

This is the second time in two months a fight between Edwards and Chimaev has fallen through. Edwards was forced to pull out of a meeting on Dec. 19 due to a positive COVID-19 test.

Edwards (18-3) has had some poor scheduling luck as of late. The British welterweight was scheduled to face former champion Tyron Woodley in March, but that event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 29-year-old, who owns an eight-fight win streak, has not fought since July 2019.

This matchup against Chimaev (9-0) offered Edwards a big chance at gaining some notoriety, as Chimaev was a breakout star for the UFC in 2020.