The lightweight mixed martial arts (MMA) world champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, undefeated in 29 fights, announced to everyone's surprise his retirement at 32 to keep a promise made to his mother, who died of Covid-19.
The Russian made the announcement after his victory over American Justin Gaethje on Saturday night in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), his first fight since the death in July of his father, who was also his trainer, from complications after contracting the Covid-19.
“(My mom) didn't want me to fight without my dad by my side, and I told him it would be my last fight,” he revealed after his technical knockout victory in the second round.
"I am the indisputable and undefeated champion with my 13 wins and 0 losses (in UFC, the most prestigious league in MMA, editor's note) and my 29 wins for 0 losses throughout my career in MMA", he insisted.
"It was my father's dream," he added. Nurmagomedov has held the lightweight belt since April 2018 and defeated MMA legend Conor McGregor in October of the same year. The Irishman greeted the young retiree, sending him on Twitter "respect and condolences again".
"A heritage never equaled"
The American Daniel Cormier, former world champion light heavyweight (2015-2018) and heavyweight (2018-2019) of the UFC, has meanwhile sent, on Twitter also, his "congratulations to the greatest champion in UFC history ".
The UFC considered Nurmagomedov's 29 wins to no loss to be "a legacy that will never be matched."
UFC President Dana White further revealed at a press conference that the "Eagle of Dagestan" (a Muslim-majority North Caucasian republic) broke their foot three weeks ago while preparing this fight. “With what this guy went through, we're all lucky to have seen him fight tonight,” he praised.