Khabib Nurmagomedov Announces Shocking Retirement After UFC 254

After dominating Justin Gaethje to retain the UFC lightweight title on Saturday, Khabib Nurmagomedov surprised everyone by walking away from MMA.

Updated: Oct. 25, 2020 • 8:25 AM ET


Khabib Nurmagomedov retained his unblemished record on Saturday.

Despite what some MMA pundits had a funny feeling about, there’s wasn’t a new UFC lightweight champion after the completion of UFC 254 on Saturday in Abu Dhabi. Khabib Nurmagomedov dominated and defeated Justin Gaethje, submitting him in the second round of the main event to solidify his status as the greatest pound-for-pound mixed martial artist in the world.

Nurmagomedov controlled the first round on the feet and ground. In the second round, he used a signature takedown off of a Gaethje leg kick to take the interim champion’s back, soon after submitting him with a triangle choke. Gaethje’s one bright spot was landing numerous leg kicks, but they were not enough to slow down Nurmagomedov’s pressure, which eventually lead to his downfall.

In his post-fight interview, Nurmagomedov announced that the bout with Gaethje would be his last, largely due to the passing of his father and mentor Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, who died in July due to the coronavirus. The Russian champion promised his mother that he would no longer fight without his father’s presence in his corner, a promise he said he cannot break.

After losing one of the most dominant champions in UFC history, the promotion obviously has a decision to make regarding the lightweight belt. At just 32 years old, Nurmagomedov retired undefeated with a 29-0 record (13-0 in the UFC), while also being one of the most respected fighters by his peers. He defended the lightweight belt three times, but seemed to have many more title defenses in his future had he chosen to continue fighting.

No fighter had a game plan for Nurmagomedov’s pressure in the Octagon. He’s the most dominant champion in UFC history, manhandling his opposition like no other. Most analysts would agree that in 13 UFC fights, he only lost one round, but even that has been disputed.

Nurmagomedov leaves MMA as the pound-for-pound king, but there’s an argument that he’s the best pound-for-pound fighter in MMA history.


UFC 254 results:

Robert Whittaker def. Jared Cannonier via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Alexander Volkov def. Walt Harris via second-round TKO (kick, punches)

Phillip Hawes def. Jacob Malkoun via first-round TKO (punches)

Lauren Murphy def. Liliya Shakirova via second-round submission (rear-naked choke)

Magomed Ankalaev def. Ion Cutelaba via first-round TKO (punches)

Tai Tuivasa def. Stefan Struve via first-round TKO (punches)

Casey Kenney def. Nathaniel Wood via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

Shavkat Rakhmonov def. Alex Oliveira via first-round submission (guillotine choke)

Da-Un Jung vs. Sam Alvey fight to split draw (29-28, 28-29, 28-28)

Miranda Maverick def. Liana Jojua via first-round TKO (doctor stoppage)

Joel Alvarez def. Alexander Yakovlev via first-round submission (armbar)

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