UFC Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov Retires, Says He Can't Continue to Fight After Father's Death

Eric Todisco
·2 min read

Valery Sharifulin/Getty Images Khabib and Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov

Undefeated UFC star Khabib Nurmagomedov has announced his retirement.

After defeating Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 on Saturday, Nurmagomedov, 32, announced he was stepping away from the ring in the wake of his father Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov's death in July from COVID-19 complications.

"Today, this was my last fight," the Russian fighter said. "Ain't no way I'm going to come here without my father."

"It was my first time after what happened with my father," he continued. "When UFC called me about Justin, I talk with my mother three days. She don't (want me) go fight without father but I promise her it's gonna be my last fight, and if I give my word I have to follow this. It was my last fight here."

Khabib finished his fighting career with a 29-0 career record and 13-0 UFC record.

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UFC President Dana White reacted to the fighter's retirement while speaking to reporters, saying, "He is one of the toughest human beings on the planet. He's the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world and, seriously, you have to start putting him up there at GOAT status."

Shortly after his announcement, Khabib posted a photo on Instagram of himself with his father. "When ALLAH with you, nobody can broke you, nobody 👊⚔️. Thanks Father for everything, you teach all my life, may ALLAH grant you the highest Paradise 🤲," he wrote.

On July 3, Khabib's manager, Ali Abdelaziz, told ESPN that the fighter's father died in Moscow, where he had been hospitalized since May. He was 57.

Abdulmanap was diagnosed with COVID-19 while in the hospital and later underwent heart surgery for a pre-existing condition which was exacerbated by the virus.

"We've lost our backbone," Abdelaziz told the outlet. "He was a father, coach, brother, an icon. Things will never be the same without him."

Sergei Rasulov/Getty images Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov

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In May, ESPN reported that Abdulmanap was placed into a medically induced coma. Then in June, manager Abdelaziz told the outlet that Khabib's father was "improving," having "opened his eyes" and "responding a little bit."

"Khabib is very strong, his family is very strong and his father is very strong," Abdelaziz said at the time.