UFC superstar Khabib Nurmagomedov has announced his retirement after defeating Justin Gaethje to successfully defend his lightweight title and retain his perfect record.
The undefeated 32-year-old mixed martial artist from Dagestan, Russia, collapsed in the centre of the octagon and sobbed after choking his American opponent unconscious at UFC 254 on Saturday.
On getting up, he took off his gloves and left them on the mat.
“This is my last fight in the UFC,” he said.
His father and coach Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov passed away in July due to complications caused by COVID-19.
Nurmagomedov said in the post-fight interview that he talked to his mother for three days before deciding to accept the fight against Gaethje in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.
“There’s no way I’m going to be back without my father. I spoke to my mother. She don’t know how I fight without father, but I promised it’s going to be my last fight, and if I give my word, I have to follow it.”
The American troubled the champion with leg kicks but succumbed to a triangle choke in the second round as Nurmagomedov cemented his claim to be the most dominant MMA fighter of all time with a 29-0 record.
Social media erupted in celebration and tribute following Nurmagomedov’s win and retirement announcement.