Shortly after beating Justin Gaethje in a second round submission in Abu Dhabi last week, an emotional Khabib Nurmagomedov vowed to a shocked world that he was giving up fighting professionally as a promise he made to his mother.
The mixed martial arts world champion from Dagestan moved his MMA record to 29-0 but immediately after the bout, Khabib told Jon Anik that he will not be competing again following the loss of his father and coach, Abdulmanap.
He revealed he took the fight with Gaethje after speaking to his mother but promised her it would be his last inside the Octagon.
“There’s no way I’m going to be back without my father,” he said after leaving his gloves on the canvas.
“I spoke to my mother. She don’t know how I fight without father, but I promised it’s going to be my last fight, and if I give my word, I have to follow it.”
The lightweight champion bows out on top having completely dominated the lightweight division since his UFC debut in 2012. But while he embarks on the next chapter in life, the 32-year-old has already talked about coaching the talent of tomorrow.
“We have a lot of young generation guys to coach,” Khabib said in a video with his coach Javier Mendez of AKA (American Kickboxing Academy) following his final victory.
“We are going to come back on the top very soon. I’m going to help you. I always help you – how many years I help you coach?!”
It feels like the natural step for Khabib. With so many fighters coming out for Russia, a number of which are family members, Khabib looks set to remain involved with the sport as he looks to continue the legacy of his late father.
Khabib actually competed in his last fight despite suffering a broken foot and two broken toes and UFC president Dana White paid tribute to him post-fight.
“What this guy’s has been through, we’re all lucky that we got to see him fight tonight,” White said in his post-fight presser.
“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’s broken, or something like that. That’s what his corner was telling me. Never told anybody. He is one of the toughest human beings on the planet.
“He is the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. Seriously, you have to start putting him up there with GOAT status with whoever else you think is the GOAT.” – Sportbible.