Khabib Nurmagomedov shocked the combat sports world for more than one reason on Saturday night.
The undefeated lightweight champion made his third straight successful title defense when he submitted Justin Gaethje with a triangle choke in the second round of their main event outing at UFC 254. Moments after the fight-ending submission, Nurmagomedov was visibly emotional in the middle of the Octagon, shedding a few tears on the ground.
When he got up, Nurmagomedov was helped by his corner in taking off his gloves prior to his post-fight interview with UFC color commentator Jon Anik — which is often a sign of an impending retirement for a mixed martial artist. To the surprise of many, Nurmagomedov did indeed retire after the fight, citing the loss of his father, Abdulmanap as the main reason for his decision.
The reactions to the retirement of Nurmagomedov have not stopped pouring in, and the UFC has continued to honor the ‘Eagle’ in a number of posts on social media. In one of their most recent posts, the promotion has put together an almost 90-second congratulatory video package for Nurmagomedov, highlighting some of the most pivotal moments of his career.
You can watch the entire video package in the Twitter embed above.
From his UFC debut to his most recent title defense, Nurmagomedov made it clear that he has always had a plan to leave on his own terms. During a portion of the video, Nurmagomedov expressed this while speaking at a post-fight conference in Dec. 2017 after UFC 219, where he defeated Edson Barboza in the co-main event.
“In the last biggest event in the UFC, I’m going to show best performance and retire undefeated, undisputed UFC lightweight champ,” said Nurmagomedov. “Become one of the greatest lightweights of all-time. This is my dream and I follow this.
“I want to be greatest like Mike Tyson [and] Muhammad Ali. Not only inside of the cage, but outside too.”
Nurmagomedov has certainly followed his dream as he leaves the sport with an overall record of 29-0.