Following his submission win over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 on Saturday, Khabib Nurmagomedov announced his retirement from mixed martial arts.
While being interviewed inside the Octagon after winning his 29th consecutive fight, Nurmagomedov declared, "Today is my last fight here in UFC" and vowed to keep his word to his mother:
Nurmagomedov cited his father's death as what led him to consider if he wanted to continue fighting.
Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov died in Russia earlier this year due to complications from COVID-19. Khabib's manager, Ali Abdelaziz, told ESPN's Brett Okamoto in May that Abdulmanap was placed in a medically induced coma after undergoing heart surgery and being diagnosed with the virus.
Speaking to Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports last week, Khabib said his father "was like coach, brother, friend, like everything" (9:05 mark of video).
Former UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, who was one of Nurmagomedov's teammates at American Kickboxing Academy, called him "the greatest champion in UFC history" in a tweet:
Nurmagomedov is retiring from mixed martial arts with a 29-0 record in his professional career. The Eagle won each of his 13 fights after signing with UFC in 2011. He won the UFC lightweight title at UFC 223 in April 2018.
Saturday's second-round win over Gaethje was Nurmagomedov's third successful title defense. He won 19 of his 29 fights by knockout or submission.