UFC world lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov announced his shock retirement from the sport on Saturday after revealing he “promised his mother” that his clash with Justin Gaethje would be his last fight.
The Russian, who won by a second-round technical knockout, was fighting for the first time since the death of his father and coach Abdulmanap in July.
The Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) champion said after his win in Abu Dhabi, “I’m the UFC undisputed, undefeated champion with a 13-0 record (in UFC), and 29-0 in all of my pro MMA career.”
“I promised my mother this would be my last fight. There’s no way I’m coming here without my father.”
Long time rival Conor McGregor of Ireland was among the first to congratulate the 32-year-old Russian on his career. Nurmagomedov, from Russia’s northern Caucasus Republic of Dagestan, is the first Russian and first Muslim to win the UFC lightweight championship.
The 32-year-old beat Conor McGregor from Ireland in Las Vegas, Nevada in a 2018 lightweight title fight. Nurmagomedov lost his father and coach, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, to the coronavirus in July.
He tweeted, ”I will carry on. Respect and condolences on your father again also. To you and family. Yours sincerely, The McGregors.”