Khabib Nurmagomedov on Saturday extended his perfect professional record as he successfully defended his lightweight title against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 in Abu Dhabi and then announced his retirement.
Khabib choked Gaethje unconscious in the second round during a fierce brawl at UFC 254, before saying goodbye to his UFC career.
The undefeated 32-year-old UFC champion sobbed after defeating Gaethje. “This is my last fight in the UFC,” he announced as he got up.
This was Khabib's 29th victory and many had expected that he would announce retirement after 30 victories.
His father and coach Abdulmanap passed away in July this year due to COVID-19.
“It was my last fight. There’s no way I’m going to come here without my father,” he said, adding, “It was the first time after what happened with my father."
Khabib said he talked to his mother for three days before deciding to fight against Gaethje.
"No way I'm going to come here without my father. After what happened with my father, when the UFC called me about Justin, I talked with my mother, three days, she don't want I go fight without father. But I promised her this is going to be my last fight. And if I give my word, I have to follow it," he said.
"It was my last fight here. I know only one thing I want from the UFC: Tuesday, you guys have to put me number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world because I deserve this," he added.
“Undisputed UFC lightweight champion, 13-0, 13 in the UFC, 29 in my pro MMA career. I think I deserve this,” the Dagestani, who often invoked Allah in his statemens, said.
Earlier during the fight, Gaethje troubled the Russian champion with leg kicks but succumbed to a triangle choke in the second round. With a decisive win, Khabib cemented his place as the most dominant MMA fighter of all time.
The fixture was equally important for both Khabib and Gaethje. Khabib was looking to defend his undefeated streak and title, while Justin was trying his best to make history by becoming the first man to beat the Russian fighter.
An undefeated champion, Khabib retired with a record of 29-0.