Former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson has high praise for Khabib Nurmagomedov after ‘The Eagle’s’ recent induction into the UFC Hall of Fame. DJ’s only wish is that he got to see Nurmagomedov fight more often during his prime.
Nurmagomedov retired after his 29th professional fight to cap off one of the most impressive runs in MMA history. The former UFC lightweight champion retired undefeated — 29-0 — with thirteen straight victories in the UFC and three title defenses to his name.
The crowning moment of his career was when he submitted Conor McGregor to retain his lightweight title in 2018. UFC 229, which featured Khabib vs. McGregor as the main event, is the highest-selling UFC event of all time and cemented Nurmagomedov’s legacy as one of the greatest fighters in UFC history.
‘Mighty Mouse’ is amazed by Nurmagomedov’s accomplishments but is a little disappointed the Russian decided to retire early and didn’t defend his title a few more times.
“His career, his legacy is amazing,” Johnson said in a recent interview with Helen Yee (h/t MMA Junkie). “I mean 29-0, undefeated. The thing that makes me sad is that I wish I would have seen him fight more. He had a lot of injuries in the beginning of his career, in the middle of his career in the UFC. But (he had) an amazing career, he’s made a lot of money and for him, it’s like, ‘Why do I need to fight? I don’t really need to fight. I’m happy.’”
Khabib now serves as a coach for aspiring UFC champions such as Islam Makhachev and Umar Nurmagomedov, and Johnson is delighted to see the 33-year-old following in his father’s footsteps and giving something back to the fighters.
“To see him give back to Islam Makhachev, Umar Nurmagomedov, those guys, it’s amazing because I know it takes a lot of effort – a lot of effort to be a coach. And for him to kind of pick up where his father left off, that’s absolutely amazing.”
Khabib retired after his submission victory over Justin Gaethje in 2020. He is widely considered the greatest UFC lightweight champion of all time.