Reigning UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is officially retired. No special meeting in Vegas with UFC president Dana White. No waiting for a lightweight contender to rise to the top. “The Eagle” will soar no more.
Khabib, who originally announced his retirement from MMA in October 2020 after a submission win over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254, had his final sit down with White earlier this week and decided to in fact call an end to his illustrious career. As a result, lightweight contenders Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler will fight for the vacant UFC lightweight title at UFC 262 this May.
UFC posted the following video to social media late Thursday paying tribute to Khabib.
Khabib, who has given White and company every chance to talk him into returning to the cage in search of an undefeated 30-0 record, took to social media as well to thank UFC for his time in the promotion. Nurmagomedov asked fans yet again to respect his decision to walk away in light of his father’s passing last year.
Khabib’s official statement can be seen below courtesy of Instagram:
It was a good dinner with some great people. @danawhite thank you so much brother and the entire @ufc team for the opportunity to prove myself, you guys have changed many live forever because of this sport
Dana – I’ll never forget your attitude towards me, my father did not forget and my sons will remember you. Today there was a real conversation between real men.
Also thank you to all team, sparing partners and all fans. I hope you will accept my decision and understand me.
Nurmagomedov, 32, surprised many when he decided to call it quits late last year. But with little competition left in the UFC’s lightweight division and his father no longer by his side there wasn’t much for “Eagle” to come back to. There was that superfight with former UFC champion George St-Pierre, but that never materialized.
All in all, Khabib will go down as one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time. Respect his decision to retire or hit the road.