UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov announced his retirement immediately after defeating Justin Gaethje to stretch his professional MMA winning streak to 29-0.
Commentator Joe Rogan was quick to label The Eagle as the greatest of all time as he called time on a dominant career.
Trained in sambo, judo, and wrestling Khabib built his career on a grappling style that has proven unbeatable across the lightweight and welterweight divisions.
Khabib overcomes adversity
Khabib came into the fight as the favourite despite enduring a terrible build-up to the clash at UFC 254.
The Russian fighter lost his father earlier this year to complications after heart surgery that were exacerbated by infection with the coronavirus.
He revealed that he had made a promise to his mother to call it a day after the death of his father and former coach.
Khabib also suffered from the mumps during the build-up to the fight and had to take two weeks out of his camp to recover.
“I talked to my mother three days (ago). She didn’t want me to go fight without (my) father, but I promised her it’s going to be my last fight, and if I give my word, I have to follow this,” an emotional Khabib said in the octagon.
“It was my last fight. I know only one thing I want from the UFC – you guys have to put me number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world, because I deserve this.”
Dana White also revealed that the fighter had broken his foot just three weeks before the fight with American Gaethje.
“What this guy has been through, we are all lucky that we got to see him fight tonight. I am hearing rumors about other things that I didn’t know about that you guys will hear about when he comes out later. Apparently, he was in the hospital, he broke his foot. Three weeks ago. So he has two broken toes and a bone in his foot that is broken, or something like that,” White said in a tribute to the first Muslim to win a UFC title.
“That’s what his corner was telling me, and they never told anybody. He was just walking around. He is one of the toughest human beings on the planet and he is the number one pound for pound fighter in the world and seriously, I am starting to put him up in GOAT status.”