Damir Ismagulov Announces MMA Retirement
UFC lightweight Damir Ismagulov announced his MMA retirement at just 31 years old. Due to his young age, Ismagulov’s decision is a surprising one, but he has been privately facing health issues which influenced his decision to hang up the gloves.
Ismagulov first made the announcement in an Instagram post on Sunday.
The following quote was translated from Russian to English via Instagram.
“Unfortunately, due to circumstances and health problems, I am forced to end my sports career,” Ismagulov said in a post. “Thanks to all those who were with me regardless of the outcome in the battles, who were sincerely sick and worried. It was an interesting journey, a moment to remember. Gave everyone a hug.”
Ismagulov was a promising talent in the lightweight division. At just 31, he worked his way to an impressive 24-2 record in MMA. In the UFC he was 5-1, including impressive wins over Guram Kutateladze, Rafael Alves, Thiago Moises, Joel Alvarez and Alex Gorgees. His only loss in the promotion came in his most recent bout at UFC Vegas 66 where he lost via unanimous decision against Arman Tsarukyan.
Ismagulov’s UFC run peaked with him reaching No. 12 in the UFC lightweight rankings. Outside of the UFC, he was able to win gold in M-1 Global, a Russian MMA promotion.
Ismagulov’s MMA career ended before it could really get started. At 31, he still had several good years left in the tank. The lightweight showed a lot of traits that you want to see in an up-and-coming fighter. He was a well-balanced fighter with above-average wrestling and standup that was led by a great jab and good kicks.
The UFC lightweight division has suffered a hit with the departure of Ismagulov. More importantly, we are left wondering what Ismagulov’s career could have looked like if he was gifted better health.