Written by Kieran Green (@kierlfc12)
Khabib Nurmagomedov has announced his retirement from Mixed Martial Arts following a successful defence of his UFC Lightweight title against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254.
Nurmagomedov extended his undefeated professional record to 29-0, after a second round triangle choke was enough to halt his opponent during Saturday’s main event inside Abu Dhabi’s Flash Forum.
This was the first time UFC fans had seen the Russian champion compete since the death of his father and coach Abdulmanap, who had passed away in July following Coronavirus related health issues.
The undefeated Nurmagomedov looked visibly upset following his victory, breaking into tears in the centre of the octagon and laying down his gloves, before giving an emotional post-fight interview.
Listen to the lightweight king speak one last time at #UFC254[ #InAbuDhabi | @VisitAbuDhabi ] pic.twitter.com/ToSwWymNL1
— UFC (@ufc) October 25, 2020
Nurmagomedov said: “Today I want to say this is my last fight. No way am I coming here without my father. When UFC called me about Justin I spoke with my mother for three days.
“She didn’t want me to fight without father and I said this is my last fight – and I have given her my word.
“Thank you coach, thank you guys. Today is my last fight in the UFC. It was my father’s dream. Dustin and Conor will fight in January, I have choked both out. I am not interested in this.”
UFC president Dana White revealed in his post-fight press conference that Nurmagomedov had competed with a broken foot, and was quick to sing the praises of his Lightweight champion.
He said: “Apparently, he was in the hospital, he broke his foot three weeks ago. So he has two broken toes and a bone in his foot that’s broken or something like that. That’s what his corner was telling me.
“He is one of the toughest human beings on the planet. He is just the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world. Seriously, I have to start putting him up there at G.O.A.T status with whoever else you think is the G.O.A.T.”
Nurmagomedov adds Gaethje to a 29-0 undefeated record that includes victories over Conor Mcgregor and Dustin Poirier, and by doing so cements his status as one of the world’s greatest ever Mixed Martial Artists.