Khabib Nurmagomedov Defeats Justin Gaethje at UFC 254, Retires After the Fight

Khabib Nurmagomedov at the Synergy Global Foru in 2019. Photo by Kommersant Photo Agency/Shutterstock

In one of the most anticipated MMA events in recent memory, Khabib Nurmagomedov defeated Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 to retain his UFC Lightweight Champion belt and extend his undefeated streak to 29 fights. This also turned out to be Nurmagomedov’s last MMA fight, as the Dagestan fighter announced his retirement in a post-match interview.

Before the fight, many MMA analysts predicted a close bout arguing that Gaethje represents one of Nurmagomedov’s toughest tests so far. However, it didn’t exactly turn out that way.

Despite not fighting for more than a year and having issues with his foot, Nurmagomedov dominated the fight and finished the job early in the second round. He managed to get Gaethje on the floor and administer a triangle choke that forced the American to tap out.

After spending several moments kneeling on the floor, with his head in his hands, emotional Nurmagomedov announced that this would be his last fight. The  32-year-old explained that he promised his mother that he would stop competing following his father’s death earlier this year.

“Today, I want to say this was my last fight,” said Nurmagomedov. “… It was my father’s dream. What else?”

“I promised her this was gonna be my last fight,” he added. “If I give my word, I have to follow this.”

Khabib Nurmagomedov walks away with a perfect 29-0 record. He is 13-0 since coming to UFC and has three consecutive UFC Lightweight Championship title defenses. This is tied for most in history with BJ Penn and Benson Henderson.

With Nurmagomedov’s retirement, the UFC Lightweight Champion belt now becomes vacated. The UFC considers several scenarios to get a new champion, with the fight between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier being the favorite.