No ‘ill’ will: Muslim Salikhov doesn’t begrudge Randy Brown’s UFC withdrawal due to sickness

LAS VEGAS – The delay made Muslim Salikhov nervous for a multitude of reasons, but there’s no resentment toward UFC Fight Night 235 opponent Randy Brown.

Initially slated for UFC 296 in December, Salikhov (19-4 MMA, 6-3 UFC) vs. Brown (17-5 MMA, 11-5 UFC) was canceled days before the event when the latter fighter fell ill.

Despite the disappointment that came with a fight week withdrawal, Salikhov understood Brown’s decision.

“It’s difficult. I did the full camp (for) almost three months before December,” Salikhov told MMA Junkie and other reporters Wednesday at the UFC Apex. “I worried that maybe it’s going to be overtraining. But it’s OK. It is what it is. They said they will reschedule fight for maybe January’s first event but it did not happen because he was still sick. Everyone is sick. I understand this. I see everyone in Las Vegas. I see it. I agree with this and we just waited for the fight.”

Salikhov, 39, approaches the big 4-0, which he turns June 9. While many fighters are winding down in their late 30s, Salikhov said he still has a couple more trips around the sun before he hangs up the gloves.

“I’m still not thinking about the end,” Salikhov said. “I’m good. I feel that I’m still in shape. Sometimes, I’m better than young fighters. It’s OK. 39 is just, in MMA, I’m just beginning. I have not fought a lot of fights. It’s 20, which is already a lot. But (during my) K-1, I had big, big (amount), like so many fights. I got a little bit tired after K-1. … For MMA, it’s like, especially in the UFC, I feel like I’m beginning. I’m not tired. … Maybe two or three years more.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 235.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie