Why Khabib Nurmagomedov is retiring after beating Justin Gaethje at ‘UFC 254’ in Abu Dhabi, UAE

Khabib Nurmagomedov (©UFC)

Khabib Nurmagomedov (©UFC)

Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov, 32, of Makhachkala, Dagestan, Russia has announced his retirement from mixed martial arts. According to the undefeated MMA fighter, it was a fulfilment of a promise he made to his mother.

Nurmagomedov’s father Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov died in a hospital in Moscow, Russia due to complications stemming from the new coronavirus (COVID-19) infection on July 3, 2020. Khabib’s mother did not want the Ultimate Fighter Championship’s lightweight champion to compete without his father.

Despite this, Khabib faced interim UFC Lightweight Champion Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje, 31, of Arvada, Colorado, United States at “UFC 254” in the United Arab Emirates. The defending champion told his mother it would be his final fight.

Featuring 12 MMA matches, “UFC 254” took place at the Flash Forum on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE on October 23, 2020 in the U.S. or October 24, 2020 in the UAE. In the main event of the evening, Nurmagomedov submitted Gaethje via triangle choke in the second round.


While inside the octagon, Khabib officially announced his retirement. He told Jon Anik in his postfight interview, “Today, I want to say this was my last fight.”

 “No way I’m going to come here without my father,” Khabib continued. “It was the first time after what happened with my father. When (the) UFC called me about (fighting) Justin, I talked with my mother.”

“She didn’t want me to fight without father,” Khabib said of his mother. “But I promised her it’s going to be my last fight and if I give my word, I have to follow this. It was my last fight here.”


Winning at “UFC 254” improved Khabib’s professional MMA record to 29 wins and 0 loss. Out of those victories, 13 were in the UFC.

Khabib has been competing in the UFC since 2012. Before Gaethje, the first opponents he defeated in the promotion were Kamal Shalorus, Gleison Tibau, Thiago Tavares, Abel Trujillo, Pat Healy, Rafael dos Anjos, Darrell Horcher, Michael Johnson, Edson Barboza, Al Iaquinta, Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier.

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