UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has announced his retirement after defending his title in a bout with Justin Gaethje.
The shocking news follows Nurmagomedov’s second-round victory against Justin Gaethje in the UFC 254 event.
As the 32-year-old MMA legend who retained the UFC Lightweight Champion title since April 2018 expressed, he is no longer willing to return to the ring without his father by his side.
The fighter’s father and coach, Abdulmanap, died in July following coronavirus complications, prompting the UFC champion to step down from the fighting scene for good.
“Thank you for these guys, these guys with me, been with my father for more than 10 years. All my team, AKA with coach Javier, I love him so much, all my team,” the unbeaten MMA fighter said in his emotional speech following his UFC 254 win.
“Today, I want to say, this was my last fight. No way am I going to come here without my father. It was first time, after what happened with my father, when UFC called me about Justin.
“I talk with my mother three days, she don’t want that I go fight without father. I promised her, it’s going to be my last fight, and if I give my word, I have to follow this. It was my last fight here.
“I know only one thing I want from UFC, you guys have to put me on No 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, because I deserve this. UFC undisputed, undefeated lightweight champion, 13-0, 13 in UFC, 29 in all pro MMA career. I think I deserve it.”
The lightweight champion added:
“One more thing, I want to say thank you Lorenzo Fertitta, thank you Dana, Hunter, all guys. Thank you so much, and of course I don’t forget about Joe Silva who signed me here in UFC. Joe Silva, thank you. All this UFC team, everybody around the world, this whole pandemic stuff, they are doing great show.
“Thank you so much Justin. Justin, 2016 I remember when I cut weight, you helped me a lot. Thank you, brother. I know you are a great man, I know how you take care of your people.
“I know a lot of things about you, take care of your parents, because one day, it’s going to happen something. You never know what is going to happen tomorrow, you never know.
“Today is my last fight here in UFC. It was my father’s dream. Dustin and Conor are going to fight January, I choke them out, both of them. I’m not interested in this.”
After switching to his mother tongue, Nurmagomedov also went on to thank his Russian-speaking friends and supporters who believed in him throughout his career.
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