Dennis Buzukja details scary COVID-19 side effects that left him ‘slowly dying’ ahead of Ring of Combat title fight

Dennis Buzukja details scary COVID-19 side effects that left him ‘slowly dying’ ahead of Ring of Combat title fight.

Dennis Buzukja is gearing up to fight for a title at Ring of Combat on Friday but that isn’t even close to the biggest fight he’s ever had. Over the course of the last year and a half, Buzukja has been battling with very serious COVID-19 side effects and a shoulder injury.

Neither of which he says will keep him from fighting for his dream.

“Before Contender Series, when I had my Ring of Combat title fight [February 29, 2020], I had gotten COVID but at the time we didn’t know what it was,” Buzukja told FanSided. “I just thought it was a really bad flu, I got really, really sick at the time. I needed an inhaler, couldn’t breathe. I almost went to the hospital. During training camp it was really bad, I lost 10 pounds in three days. I had all of the symptoms of COVID; lost my taste, smell, couldn’t breathe. They put me on antibiotics, I fought two weeks later and won the belt.”

But, that wasn’t the end of COVID for Buzukja.

“I still had complications, up until honestly just a few weeks ago beginning in the summer,” he said. “I was going to doctors all over the city: pulmonologist, cardiologist, gastrointestinal doctors because my whole body was really messed up. Psychosis episodes, it was just crazy. You think you’re going crazy, you start having panic attacks and you don’t know if it’s because you can’t get oxygen or if it’s a mental thing, my body was just kind of breaking. I felt myself slowly dying almost. It was such a weird time.”

On top of everything Buzukja was dealing with, he accepted a fight on Dana White’s Contender Series with COVID and a shoulder injury handing over him.

“I was going through that and then I took the [DWCS] fight because I wasn’t going to turn down a fight like that,” he said. “So, I had to train through it during the pandemic, even though all the gyms were closed, everything was closed. I had to get whatever work in I could get, get to that position and then a nerve in my shoulder at the time shut down too, in my neck actually. And it shut down my left shoulder so all my rotator cuff muscles were atrophied. So I was dealing with the COVID problems and my shoulder at the same time.”

He lost the fight, via decision, but quickly rebound with a win at Triton Fights 18.

“I’m not making excuses, I went in for it and it is what it is,” he said. “Then I fought again in March, I won that, then I was getting ready for my last fight and then I broke my collarbone. Two weeks before the fight. So it’s just been a crazy year, but I’m back now and I’m healthy. Thank god.”

Dennis Buzukja turned down another DWCS fight in order to heal completely

In fact, Buzukja was asked back for DWCS but chose to take one more fight to test his body before jumping back into the running for a contract again.

“Sean Shelby actually called my manager before my last fight, he asked if I’ve fought yet,” he said. “We were telling them no matter what, we were gonna fight. I wasn’t healthy yet with the lung problem and I didn’t want to risk it. Do a few more fights, get healthy, get some more experience and we’ll take it one fight at a time.”

Of the difficulties that Buzukja deals with, he’s said the breathing and psychological aspects of the illness were the hardest to deal with.

“Breathing was definitely a big problem,” he said. “I went to a pulmonologist and I only had 68 percent lung function, I lost a third of my lungs pretty much from COVID. So, now I’m feeling better. I haven’t gone back since, maybe my function got better. The numbers don’t lie, so when they told me I lost a third of my lung function I was like ‘this is insane.’ Then, I had really bad stomach problems, insane bloating. Then there were mental health problems after too like depression and really bad anxiety. So, definitely the lungs, stomach, and a little bit of the mental issues.”

Dennis Buzukja will fight Michael Lawrence at Ring of Combat on Oct. 22

Buzukja will test himself again on Oct. 22 against Michael Lawrence who hasn’t fought since 2019.

“[He] has a few knockouts. It’s just another matchup,” Buzukja said. “I’m gonna just go do what I got to do, considering my last fight I fought a guy with insane power, I think I could handle this guy.”

Buzukja trains in New York with the likes of UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling, Merab Dvalishvili, and Chris Weidman, among many others which puts him at a front-row seat for some of the hate Sterling has been getting.

“I know for a fact that Aljamain never wanted to win the belt like that, none of us want to accept the belt like that,” he said. “You want to go bleed for it. With the Russians especially, they’re really supportive of their people. So, they’re going a little bit crazy. I know [Petr Yan’s fans] have even been messaging Aljamain’s girlfriend, stuff like that is too much. If you just keep it with the fighter, we’re tough people. If it involves people’s family and stuff like that I definitely think it’s a bit too far. He took the [title rematch], wasn’t really healthy and he just got off surgery like a few weeks later and he was back in camp. So I’m glad he’s taking time to work on his health and get his body healthy. Get his body primed for training camp. It’s just a messed up situation, but in a few years everyone will forget about Aljamain and Petr Yan and he’ll have to live in his body and look out for himself.”

Published at Thu, 21 Oct 2021 01:44:03 +0000

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