UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is undoubtedly considered one of the greatest fighters in MMA history. He has the record for the longest reign as UFC Lightweight Champion, having held the title since April 2018. He has an undefeated record, with 29 wins and no losses – having one of the longest winning streaks in MMA history.
The announcement of his retirement this year surprised many but has allowed Khabib to retire on his own terms. “It was my last fight,” Nurmagomedov told media, after defeating Justin Gaethje in the main event of UFC 254.
In July 2020, Khabib’s father, Adulmanap died at just age 57 due to coronavirus-related complications. He was incredibly close to his father, who was an inspiration in his personal and professional life and taught him everything he knew.
“I don’t fight for the money. I fight for my legacy. I fight for history. I fight for my people.” – Khabib Nurmagomedov
“Father, I will miss you. You were my father, friend, brother, and coach in one. You taught me practically everything I know. I hope you were pleased with me,” Khabib Nurmagomedov wrote. Khabib’s father was the most influential person in his career. Abdulmanap had put Khabib into training for combat sports at a young age, encouraging him to become an athlete. He taught him to be disciplined and coached him throughout his MMA career.
After his father’s death, Khabib promised his mother that his next fight would be his last, and he did just that after the Khabib vs Gaethje showdown. He left fans stunned as he paid tribute to his late father, weeping in the middle of the octagon before leaving his gloves at the center and declaring it was his last fight in the UFC.
Nurmamogodev has had a tremendous career, being the first Muslim and first Russian born UFC champion in history. With an undefeated 29-0 record, and has scored 13 wins in the UFC since making his debut back in 2012. Khabib won the lightweight title in 2018, beating Al Iaquinta for the belt, and is retiring with three successful title defenses to his name.
“My style is not like anyone’s. I’m not a typical wrestler.” – Khabib Nurmagomedov
However, something that has always struck his fans is Khabib’s humility and humbleness in his sport. He truly is like no other wrestler. While he has retired, for now, he has left the sport with an incredible legacy and has set a precedent of what a true athlete should be.