Khamzat Chimaev opponent hints at MMA retirement after first-round loss to UFC star

American Kevin Holland was quickly submitted by Khamzat Chimaev last time out (Getty Images)

Kevin Holland has suggested that he intends to retire from mixed martial arts following his decisive submission loss to Khamzat Chimaev earlier this month.

Holland fought Chimaev on one day’s notice in the co-main event of UFC 279, losing to the promotion’s fastest-rising star in the first round.

Chimaev dominated the American from the opening bell before submitting him with a D’Arce choke within two-and-a-half minutes to stay unbeaten, continuing a remarkable start to the Russian-born Swede’s MMA career. Chimaev, 28, is 12-0 as a professional with 11 stoppage wins, and he has already risen to No 3 in the UFC welterweight rankings.

“Had a good run, 30 [years old] in a little over a month,” Holland wrote on Instagram. “Got paid, I’m out. Next career choice??”

Holland (23-8) faced Chimaev in a 180lbs catchweight bout, after the latter missed weight for his scheduled welterweight main event with Nate Diaz. Holland and Chimaev predominantly compete at welterweight (170lbs), but both have fought at middleweight (185lbs) in the past.

Diaz went on to submit Tony Ferguson as the UFC 279 card in Las Vegas was reconfigured, with Holland’s original opponent Daniel Rodriguez outpointing Li Jingliang, who was previously set to face Holland.

Rodriguez is rumoured to be fighting Neil Magny next month, and it is thought that the potential match-up has irked Holland.

Before hinting at his retirement, Holland shared an Instagram post of a side-by-side picture of Rodriguez and Magny and wrote: “Lol, [didn’t] I just ask for this scrap? That’s wild.”

It is unclear whether he was referencing a bout with Rodriguez or with Magny, though it is likely that he was referring to the former, given their previously scheduled UFC 279 contest.