Khabib Nurmagomedov retires after an impressive 29-0-0 UFC career


Joe Murdock, Sports Reporter

On October 24, in The United Arab Emirates, Khabib Nurmagomedov took down his final opponent in Justin Gaethje. Khabib clinched the title one minute and 34 seconds into the second round with a triangle chokehold that Gaethje was unable to recover from.

Due to Covid-19, the UFC is holding events in its own bubble, much like the NBA had done. The Flash Forum, on UFC’s “Fight Island,” is located in the Middle East. UFC’s President Dana White has done a fabulous job keeping the fighters and their teams safe from Covid-19 on the island, which resulted in numerous eventful fights.

The biggest headline to come out after the dramatic fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje is that in his post-fight interview, Khabib stated that he would not be returning to the Octagon.

Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, Khabib’s father, passed away on July 3, 2020, in Moscow, Russia. After being hospitalized in May of 2020 with Covid-19, Abdulmanap was never able to make a full recovery. It is still unclear if his death was caused by the infectious virus or his underlying health conditions that could have easily been provoked by Covid. Khabib and his father were very close and Khabib has publicly expressed his sadness. Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov was just 58 years old.

Khabib still went into this fight with his famous killer instinct; however, Justin Gaethje was very confident in his abilities as well. Gaethje was quoted earlier that week saying he would, with no exceptions, not tap out during the brawl. Throughout the duration of the fight, Nurmagomedov controlled the center of the Octagon rarely giving Gaethje the chance to strike. When it was time for Justin to be finished off, Khabib decided to use his triangle chokehold instead of his father’s favorite, the armbar. Khabib knew that Justin would not tap out, and he recognized that if he went with the armbar, and Gaethje stayed true to his word then it was probable that Justin would be leaving the Octagon with a broken arm. In an interview with ESPN reporter DC, Khabib said that he decided to go with the triangle choke instead of the armbar because he did not want to break Gaethje’s arm in front of his parents. The fact that Khabib was thinking about the parents of his opponent during the altercation is utterly fascinating.

Khabib Nurmagomedov has now jumped Jon Jones in the men’s Pound for Pound Rankings, taking the number one overall spot in UFC. Although this does not mean much considering that Khabib has announced his retirement, Jon Jones has taken to Twitter to show his frustration. Jones believes that the only legitimate opponent Khabib has faced was Conor McGregor. The debate over who is better between Jon Jones and Khabib Nurmagomedov will likely continue over the years unless Khabib decides to come out of retirement and square off against Jones.

After losing his father less than three months ago, the grit and manic spirit expressed by Khabib during his last UFC fight was incredible. Whether or not one thinks that he is the greatest of all time or not, it is undeniable that Khabib Nurmagomedov deserves a great deal of respect after completing his UFC career with a total record of 29-0-0.