Khabib Nurmagomedov Shockingly Retires from UFC After Win vs. Justin Gaethje

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistOctober 24, 2020

FILE - In this Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018 file photo Khabib Nurmagomedov speaks at a news conference after the UFC 229 mixed martial arts event in Las Vegas. UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is probably the best-known Muslim athlete in Russia, and he's rapidly becoming a leading conservative voice at home. When a National Guardsman was killed while apparently trying to break up a fight outside an establishment variously described as a cafe and nightclub early Sunday morning, Nurmagomedov called for a crackdown on the local nightlife in his mostly-Muslim home region of Dagestan.(AP Photo/John Locher, File)
John Locher/Associated Press

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:

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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.