Khabib Nurmagomedov extended his ideal expert record as he maintained his light-weight title at UFC 254 in Abu Dhabi – then revealed his retirement.
Russian Nurmagomedov, 32, beat interim champ Justin Gaethje with a second-round triangle choke submission to declare a 29th success and combine the 155lb title.
Nurmagomedov stated he had actually honoured the memory of his daddy, coach and coach Abdulmanap, who passed away in July following problems emerging from Covid-19.
In spite of lots of thinking Nurmagomedov would chase his 30th expert win prior to considering retirement, the psychological champ asked his team-mates to cut his gloves off prior to giving up.
” It was my last battle. There’s no chance I’m going to come here without my daddy,” he stated. “It was the very first time after what occurred with my daddy, when the UFC called me about (battling) Justin, I talked with my mom for 3 days.
” She didn’t desire me to eliminate without daddy, however I guaranteed her it was going to be my last battle, and if I offer my word, I need to follow this. It was my last battle here.
” I understand just one thing I desire from the UFC: Tuesday, you people need to put me primary pound-for-pound fighter worldwide since I deserve this.
” Undeniable UFC light-weight champ, 13-0, 13 in the UFC, 29 in my professional Mixed Martial Arts profession. I believe I deserve this.”
Nurmagomedov ‘broke his foot 3 weeks ago’
” What this person’s been through, we’re all fortunate we got to see him combat this evening,” stated UFC president Dana White. “I’m hearing rumours of other things that I didn’t learn about. Obviously he remained in the medical facility. He broke his foot 3 weeks earlier. So he has 2 damaged toes and a bone in his foot that’s damaged – that’s what his corner was informing me. Never ever informed any person.
” He is among the most difficult people in the world and he’s the number-one pound-for-pound fighter worldwide and, seriously, you need to begin putting him up there with GOAT status with whoever else you believe is the GOAT.”
UFC 254, which marked the last occasion of the sport’s 2nd stint on Yas Island, saw the return of Nurmagomedov, who was not able to safeguard his title previously this year since of Covid-19 travel constraints in Russia.
At the time, Nurmagomedov was because of deal with competing Tony Ferguson at UFC 249, however Ferguson rather dealt with Gaethje, and was dropped in the 5th round as ‘The Emphasize’ declared the interim title and entered the number-one competitor area.
Gaethje was anticipated to position issues for Nurmagomedov, with his college fumbling experience thought about a possible remedy to the champ’s smothering grappling design.
However Nurmagomedov controlled the preliminary with his high-pressure method, then sent Gaethje in the 2nd.
Nurmagomedov included Gaethje’s name to a list of beaten challengers that likewise consists of Dustin Poirier, Conor McGregor, Al Iaquinta and Edson Barboza.
Nurmagomedov thanked Gaethje, who had actually scheduled his moms and dads to fly worldwide for the very first time in their lives to see him defend the title, and commemorated a guy who 4 years ago assisted him make weight when he was having a hard time to lose the last couple of pounds for his short-notice battle with Darrell Horcher.
” Thank you a lot, Justin. 2016 I keep in mind when I cut weight, you assisted me a lot. Thank you, bro,” Nurmagomedov stated.
” I understand how you are a terrific male. I understand how you look after your close individuals. I understand a great deal of features of you.
” Be close with your individuals, since you never ever understand what’s going to occur tomorrow. You never ever understand.”
Whittaker wins once again while Wood nets $50,000 reward
In the night’s co-main occasion, Australian previous UFC middleweight champ Robert Whittaker continued his recover because losing his title to Israel Adesanya last October by outpointing American Jared Cannonier to return into title contention at 185 pounds.
British bantamweight Nathaniel Wood was likewise in action, however was edged out on the scorecards after a back-and-forth fight with American Casey Kenney on the initial card. Nevertheless, their 140-pound catchweight match-up was granted “Battle of the Night” honours, with both guys getting $50,000 benefits for their particular efficiencies.