UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov declared retirement shortly after defending his belt against interim champion Justin Gaethje on Saturday. The win came in the main event of UFC 254, which took place on “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Nurmagomedov was very emotional after his win, as it was his first since his father Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov passed away in July.
“No way I’m going to come here after my father[‘s passing],” said Nurmagomedov in his post-fight interview.
Nurmagomedov left his MMA gloves in the ring following the win, something that is often done by athletes who declare retirement from the sport.
Abdulmanap was a large influence on Nurmagomedov’s career, being in his corner for every fight of his MMA career.
Nurmagomedov leaves the sport undefeated with 29 fights as a professional. He claimed the vacant UFC Lightweight Championship in 2018 after a win over Al Iaquinta. He went on to defend it three times, defeating Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier before his win on Saturday.
Nurmagomedov will be best known for his title run, as his dominating performances generated large public interest.
His fight against McGregor in 2018 broke records, being the most bought MMA pay-per-view of all time and the highest MMA live ticket box office in history.
Nurmagomedov fought in the UFC from 2012 to 2020, winning all 13 of his appearances under the promotional banner.