UFC middleweight Kevin Holland has implied that Khamzat Chimaev’s fight against the ongoing effects of Covid can be traced back to the fact that the Russian-born star has no “heart” – citing his comparatively easy grappling with the disease.

Chimaev was forced to retire from his headline welterweight to Leon Edwards on March 13 as he continues to struggle with health problems caused by coronavirus infection.

It was the third time that the fight had failed and Edwards was now up against Belal Muhammad – while Chimaev was flown to the US for medical care at the UFC.

Chimaev manager Majdi Shammas previously said the Sweden-based star “thought he was going to die” after suffering the ill effects despite resuming training.

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At The Joe Rogan Experience, however, the American middleweight Holland, referred to as “Big Mouth” by UFC boss Dana White, showed a clear lack of sympathy for his fellow campaigner.

“It is very unfortunate that he has this long-term situation,” Rogan said of Chimaev – only for Holland to later reject this idea.

“They say it’s sad that he had Covid … but they said I had Covid and if we’re supposed to be athletes it’s like you’re going to get it over with,” said Holland, who was forced out of one Headlining the middleweight division with Jack Hermansson on a positive Covid test of his own on December 5th before returning on December 12th to defeat Jacare Souza.

“But you obviously had a mild version of it, he had it for months,” Rogan replied with a little more sympathy for Chimaev’s plight.

“My girl had it pretty good and I fucked her all the time so we all take it differently,” replied Holland.

“Different fighters, different hearts. Don’t pretend you have the heart if you don’t … The flu sucks, Michael Jordan still went out and won. Difference.”

The couple agreed that it was “sad” that Chimaev had missed the chance to face the three-tier Edwards – before Holland apparently feigned fear of the prospect of facing Chimaev down the line at some point.

“I don’t want to fight this guy, he’s a monster, he’s undefeated, he’s a mini-Khabib,” said Holland, before adding, laughing, “Yes, I’ll take it.”

He added, “But the boss [Dana White] said we’re in two different weight classes and that we’d probably never meet. So I’m assuming it’ll stay at 170 pounds and I’ll stay at 185 pounds.

“Maybe one day when he’s a little tired he can go back in there and have a few fights.”

Holland had a remarkable 2020, winning five fights in just eight months.

This improved the star of the former Dana White Contender Series to 21: 5, and US veteran Derek Brunson was due on March 20.

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The undefeated Chimaev had a similarly spectacular 2020, conquering the UFC scene with three wins in just 66 days – two welterweight and one middleweight.

The chance to extend this momentum in one big step against Edwards was then thwarted by his Covid diagnosis and its consequences.

Chimaev manager Ali Abdelaziz is aiming for a possible comeback for the man known as “Borz” before June.

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