UFC legend Khabib Nurmagomedov has confirmed his retirement from MMA after an emotional exchange with UFC boss Dana White.
The 32-year-old’s last fight was at UFC 254 in October last year, where he defeated Justin Gaethje by submission for this third straight defense of the lightweight title – and to take his career record to 29 wins and zero losses.
Nurmagomedov said after the Gaethje victory that it would be his ‘last fight’, but speculation has swirled in recent months that the Russian would make a return to the Octagon.
However, The Eagle put those rumours to bed on Friday, using Instagram to confirm that he will no longer be participating in the UFC.
Via his retirement post, Nurmagomedov paid special tribute to White, who he credits for the current popularity of the UFC and mixed martial arts.
“Dana White, thank you so much brother and the entire UFC team for the opportunity to prove myself, you guys have changed many lives forever because of this sport,” Nurmagomedov wrote.
“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, sparring partners and all fans.
“I hope you will accept my decision and understand me.”
White followed up with his own emotional tribute to Nurmagomedov’s career, posting the same picture the Russian did – a selfie of the duo with their arms around each other.
“29-0 it is,” White wrote on Twitter.
“He is 100 per cent officially retired. It was incredible to watch you work @TeamKhabib thank you for EVERYTHING and enjoy whatever is next my friend.”
Nurmagomedov first won the lightweight title in 2018 by defeating Al Iaquinta, before defending the belt against both Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier.
Of his 29 wins in the sport starting in 2008, eight came by knockout, 11 by submission and 10 by decision.