Russian professional mixed martial artist Khabib Nurmagomedov has announced his retirement, shortly after his UFC victory against Justin Gaethje last night, in Abu Dhabi.
Nurmagomedov’s latest win against American fighter Gaethje took place on the final night of Fight Island 2, for the UFC 254 Lightweight bout and saw Nurmagomedov take the awards for ‘Performance of the Night’. Nurmagomedov ends his momentous career with an unbeaten record defeating Gaethje in just two rounds via a technical submission with a triangle choke early in the second round, to defend his title for the UFC Lightweight Championship at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Forum.
It was immediately after his triumph that Nurmagomedov revealed his plans to retire. The popular Russian champion broke down in tears as he made the announcement to the world, expressing his gratitude to all those that have helped him in his career, his team, and his fans. During the announcement, Nurmagomedov paid a special mention to his father and coach Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, who sadly passed away earlier this year in July, aged 57 as a result of coronavirus complications following heart surgery. Nurmagomedov explained that following his father’s passing, he made a promise to his mother, that his fight against Gaethje would be his last.
“Thank you for these guys, these guys with me, been with my father for more than 10 years. All my team, AKA with coach Javier, I love him so much, all my team,” Nurmagomedov said. “Today, I want to say, this was my last fight. No way am I going to come here without my father. It was the first time, after what happened with my father, when UFC called me about Justin. I talked with my mother for three days, she didn’t want that I go fight without my father. I promised her, it’s going to be my last fight, and if I give my word, I have to follow this. It was my last fight here.” he added.
In addition to announcing his retirement from MMA, the 32-year-old fighter demanded that he now be recognized as the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world in the UFC rankings, where he currently sits at number two. “[I’m the] UFC undisputed, undefeated lightweight champion, 13-0, 13 in UFC, 29 in all pro MMA career,” he explained.
Over his faultless career, Nurmagomedov has been a part of many historic and high-profile fights. Perhaps the most significant was the first defense of his lightweight title, and victory over Conor McGregor in Las Vegas in 2018, which drew in the most views ever for an MMA event.