Just as soon as he upped his record to 29-0, Nurmagomedov left the arena in Abu Dhabi and went on his way. But on Instagram, he posted another tribute to his father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, who passed away in July from complications of COVID-19.
“When ALLAH with you, nobody can broke you, nobody,” he wrote. “Thanks Father for everything, you teach all my life, may ALLAH grant you the highest Paradise.”
The 32-year-old Dagestan native dropped to the canvas after his win and wept uncontrollably. As he fought back tears, he explained his reason for hanging up his gloves after his teammates cut them off and he placed them on the floor.
Here is Nurmagomedov’s full retirement statement:
“Thank you for these guys, these guys with me, been with my father for more than 10 years. All my team, AKA with coach Javier, I love him so much, all my team. Today, I want to say, this was my last fight. No way am I going to come here without my father. It was first time, after what happened with my father, when UFC called me about Justin. I talk with my mother three days, she don’t want that I go fight without father. I promised her, it’s going to be my last fight, and if I give my word, I have to follow this. It was my last fight here.
“I know only one thing I want from UFC, you guys have to be me on No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, because I deserve this. UFC undisputed, undefeated lightweight champion, 13-0, 13 in UFC, 29 in all pro MMA career. I think I deserve it. One more thing, I want to say thank you Lorenzo Fertitta, thank you Dana, Hunter, all guys. Thank you so much, and of course I don’t forget about Joe Silva who signed me here in UFC. Joe Silva, thank you. All this UFC team, everybody around the world, this whole pandemic stuff, they are doing great show. Thank you so much Justin. Justin, 2016 I remember when I cut weight, you helped me a lot. Thank you brother. I know you are a great man, I know how you take care of your people. I know a lot of things about of you, because of your parents, because one day, it’s going to happen something. You never know what is going to happen tomorrow, you never know.”
Nurmagomedov’s exit from the sport leaves the UFC with some hard decisions to make. Gaethje, Dustin Poirier, Tony Ferguson, Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler are all gunning for the No. 1 spot. So far, only Poirier and McGregor are loosely tied to a matchup on Jan. 23, but that could change now that the belt is up for grabs.
As far as competition for the pound-for-pound No. 1 spot, many fighters believe the lightweight champ locked up the top spot on Saturday. When it comes to the sport’s GOAT, Nurmagomedov’s run is up against all-time greats Georges St-Pierre and Jon Jones.
Check out Khabib’s retirement speech: