On Saturday, October 24, Khabib Nurmagomedov walked out in Abu Dhabi for what he had promised to be his final bout in the UFC in the wake of his father’s passing away to covid-19 in July. Khabib made a steadfast entry into the fight against Justin Gaethje, the UFC lightweight contender and a Khabib’s teammate.
Within two rounds, the bout was over, with Khabib mounting Gaethje, with a swift cage scaling and pinning a surprised opponent in a triangle choke that rendered the American unconscious for half a minute. By the time Gaethje regained consciousness, Khabib was already a champion.
The victory Nurmagomedov secured meant he now stands at 29 wins undefeated. In fact, he had not had a single loss in the past eight years, which is his entire career.
Khabib’s triumph was doubly impressive not only because of the passing of his father but also because he had a broken foot three weeks prior to UFC 254 on Saturday. Nobody could discern that in his showing on Saturday, and if anything, a generation of fighters could watch and learn from that career-defining bout.
Khabib Not to Fight Without His Father
He dedicated the victory to his father who passed away at the age of 57 to the novel coronavirus and announced that he was retiring. That was a promise he had made to his mother, vowing not to continue fighting without his father by his side.
“I talked to my mother three days ago,” Khabib said in the octagon on victory night. “She didn’t want me to go fight without father, but I promised her it’s going to be my last fight, and if I give my word, I have to follow this.”
Announcing his retirement fight, Khabib said that he would only want from the UFC to rank him number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world – a title he deserved, he said.
Khabib is one of six fighters to have clocked 13 wins in eight years, adding eight knockouts and 11 submissions to his professional record. The UFC lightweight title may be automatically transferred to Gaethje who might be looking at a title fight very soon.
Dana White, President of the UFC, is yet to confirm how the vacant title will be filled.