It was all emotions at UFC 254 this Saturday. While Khabib extends his streak to 29-0, he dropped an announcement that filled everyone with emotions. The Eagle retires as an undefeated and undisputed Lightweight Champion of the World.
An Avar from Dagestan, Russia, Khabib Nurmagomedov is one of the greatest fighters in mixed martial arts history, if not the greatest.
He is the longest-reigning UFC Lightweight Champion of the world, having retained the title since April 2018. With 29 victories and zero losses, he retires with an undefeated record.
Khabib is an idol among the youth and professionals all around the world, especially for Muslims. He is the first-ever Muslim to win a UFC title.
He inspires millions of Muslims around the world who feel doubtful about their own identities. Khabib wears his identity proudly and is one of the most down-to-earth people you will meet or see. He is also the most followed Russian celebrity on Instagram.
Khabib’s first professional MMA debut and victory came on 13th September 2008 against Vusal Bayramov. Later on October 11, 2008, he beat three more opponents. About a year later, on August 18, 2009, at the Tsumada Fighting Championship, he took on two more opponents by TKO. About three months later, at the 2009 M-1 Challenge, he won his seventh fight.
In 2011, Khabib competed and defeated seven opponents for the ProFC promotion. Eventually, the 16-0 streak in Russia and Ukraine’s regional tours was indeed more than enough to earn a UFC call-up. As a result, he signed a six-fight deal to fight in UFC’s Lightweight division.
He made his UFC debut on January 22, 2012, against Kamal Shalorus, defeating him by submission in the third round. Further, he went on to win one more fight later in 2012, continued by three more wins in 2013, and one in 2014.
Nurmagomedov asked UFC President Dana White to give him a title shot after he dominantly mauled Michael Johnson. He then beat Edson Barboza in 2017, where he dominated all three rounds. It was his first Performance of the Night bonus.
Khabib finally got a title shot in 2018 against Al Iaquinta. The result was the same, Nurmagomedov dominated the whole fight and won via unanimous decision to become the UFC Lightweight Champion.
On August 3, 2018, Khabib made his first defense of his title against Connor McGregor. He dominated all rounds, finally winning by submission in the fourth round. However, the match against McGregor was much more than a title defense.
After signing a new multi-fight contract with UFC in 2019, Khabib made his second defense against the interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier. He won by a rear-naked choke submission in the third round, marking his second Performance of the Night bonus.
Khabib couldn’t defend his title against Ferguson due to COVID travel regulations. So Ferguson fought against Gaethje for the interim title, which Gaethje ended his winning streak, beating him by TKO in the fifth round.
Khabib, however, defeated Gaethje via technical submission in only the 2nd round to defend his title. He announced his retirement in the post-match interview citing his father’s death and a promise he made to his mother.
Image courtesy of TPYXA_ILLUSTRATION/Shutterstock
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