Muslim UFC superstar Khabib Nurmagomedov has announced his retirement from Mixed Martial Arts after successfully defending his lightweight title against Justin Gaethje.
Nurmagomedov, from Dagestan, extended his unbeaten record to 29-0 with a second-round submission win in Abu Dhabi – his third successful title defence, having previously beaten Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier.
It was also the Russian’s first fight without his father and coach, Abdulmanap, who died from complications caused by coronavirus earlier this year.
In an emotional post-fight interview, Khabib 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 so much Justin. I know you are great, I know how you take care of your people. Be close with your parents, because you never know what is going to happen tomorrow.
“Thank you coach, thank you guys. Today is my last fight in the UFC. It was my father’s dream. Justin and Conor will fight in January, I have choked both out, I am not interested in this.”
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UFC president Dana White revealed after the fight that Nurmagomedov had competed with a broken foot.
“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. And 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.”
Khabib started competing in MMA under the guidance of his father in 2008. He is a two-time Russian Combat Sambo and two-time World Sambo Champion.
Khabib has dominated his opponents because of his superior wrestling game which has resulted in numerous choke-outs and submissions.