Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) champion Khabib Nurmagomedov announced his retirement Saturday after defeating American Justin Gaethje in the main event of the UFC 254.
Nurmagomedov successfully defended his UFC lightweight title and extended his unbeaten record to 29-0 with a second-round victory in Abu Dhabi – his third successful title defence, having previously beaten Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier.
The match lasted 01:34 seconds into the second round.
It was also the Russian star’s first fight without his father and coach, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, who died from complications caused by coronavirus earlier this year.
In an emotional post-fight interview, Nurmagomedov said: “God give me everything, and with my father, I love you so much. Today I want to say this was 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 promised her it would be my last fight – and I have given her my word,” he added.
“Thank you to all this UFC team, everybody around the world, thank you so much Justin, you helped me a lot. I know you’re a great man. Today is my last fight in the UFC. It was my father’s dream, what else is there to prove?”
The 32-year-old Nurmagomedov first claimed the UFC lightweight title with a points decision win over Al Iaquinta at UFC 223 in 2018 before defending the title against McGregor in Las Vegas later that year at UFC 229.
Nurmagomedov, from Russia’s northern Caucasus Republic of Dagestan, is the first Russian and first Muslim to win the UFC lightweight championship.
With inputs from Anadolu Agency and Sky Sports