Khabib Nurmagomedov is calling it quits in the UFC after a shocking reveal at UFC 254. The undefeated fighter had just got done absolutely destroying Justin Gaethje via submission. Then after the bout, he let the world know that he was walking away from the sport. Nobody really expected this outcome, but it has become routine for fighters to take that opportunity after big wins. Every time the UFC has challenged the Russian fighter, he has come through with flying colors. A lot of casual fight fans probably only came to know him because of his highly-touted fight with Conor McGregor that saw Nurmagomedov dispatch the brash fighter. Now, UFC will be without another star and a power vacuum will open up in his absence.
“I talked with my mother, I promised her this was gonna be my last fight,” he explained. “I gave my word, I have to follow it. It was my last fight here. I know I want things from the UFC, I want to be put on the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world. Undisputed, Undisputed UFC Lightweight Champion 29-0….God give me everything,. Ain’t no way I come here without my father.”
His emotions in the ring after the win were palpable. He collapsed near the center of the Octagon sobbing because of the emotions. Losing his father had a huge effect on Khabib, and he was doing his best to honor his legacy. The topic of the Champion’s family has come up in numerous other interviews and previous bouts. His former antagonist Conor McGregor actually offered congratulations and condolences after the announcement. The retired fighter offered some thoughts about stepping into the cage without his father there earlier this week with Reebok.
"The fight with Dustin Poirier was emotionally tough, as it was my father's first time by my side at the UFC corner," Nurmagomedov explained "We were in Abu Dhabi, but I knew that almost the entire stadium was pulling for me. A lot of my relatives and friends were there, so I felt pressure. It can be very difficult when your family is around. It is not much easier for them than it is for me, you know. I knew they were nervous. I knew that no matter what I said, they would not calm down. When I was announced, I asked my father, "Are you nervous?" He confirmed. Then I told him: "That's all right, don't worry, we'll figure it all out now". And we did."
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