UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov has announced his retirement from mixed martial arts after beating Justin Gaethje at UFC 254.
The 32-year-old “Eagle” successfully defended his title before laying down his gloves for good to fulfil the promise made to his mother that his fight with Gaethje would be his last.
The Russian native revealed the news on his retirement during an emotional post-fight interview, revealing that he had promised his mother that this would be his last fight following his father’s death in July. This was also the first time Nurmagomedov stepped into the cage without his father by his side.
Nurmagomedov stated, “I’m the UFC undisputed, undefeated champion with a 13-0 record (in UFC), and 29-0 in all of my pro MMA career. Today I want to say this is my last fight. No way am I coming here without my father. When UFC came to me about Justin I spoke with my mother for three days. She didn’t want me to fight without (my) father and I said this is my last fight – and I have given her my word.”
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) October 24, 2020
The undisputed lightweight champ extended his unbeaten record of 29-0 in Abu Dhabi after choking out title-contender Gaethje in round two, despite competing with a broken foot. This was his third successful title defence, having previously beaten Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier.
He technically had only lost one round during his entire UFC career, which was during a fight with McGregor in 2018. Despite being his long time rival, McGregor was amongst the first to congratulate the 32-year-old Russian on his career.
Good performance @TeamKhabib.
I will carry on.
Respect and condolences on your father again also. To you and family.
Yours sincerely, The McGregors.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) October 24, 2020
Nurmagomedov lost his father and coach, Abdulmanap, due to complications from contracting Covid-19 back in July.
UFC president Dana White revealed after the fight that by retiring with a record of 29-0, the “Eagle” will be considered as one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time.