Since Khabib Nurmagomedov announced his retirement after defending his title against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254, there has been speculation that the Dagestani native will return. 'The Eagle' had become an absolute fan favorite, not just because of the skills that he brought to the octagon, but because of his cheerful nature and humility.
While there was a good reason to believe that the 29-0 Khabib Nurmagomedov would return to fulfill his late father's wish to see him go 30-0, Dana White confirmed this week that 'The Eagle' had retired officially.
The UFC president tweeted: "29-0 it is. He is officially retired. It was incredible to watch your work @TeamKhabib thank you for EVERYTHING and enjoy whatever is next my friend.
The decision will leave a lot of UFC fans and Khabib Nurmagomedov's followers wanting more. 'The Eagle' was a distinct hybrid between a killing machine and a humble, yet witty trash-talker.
On the day of his retirement, let's look back at five of Khabib's greatest quotes that will always be remembered following the legend's UFC retirement.
1. “Irish only 6 million, Russian 150 million."
Coming off the back of a seven-fight win streak in the UFC, Khabib Nurmagomedov was scheduled to fight Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight title at UFC 205. However, negotiations didn't work out, so the fight was reworked.
While Khabib Nurmagomedov was booked against Michael Johnson, it was Conor McGregor who got the title shot against Eddie Alvarez. This displeased Khabib.
'The Eagle' pummeled Michael Johnson before submitting him in the third round. Following the win, he went on a rant targeting Conor McGregor that would go down in history as one of the most legendary call-outs of all time.
“Excuse me guys, I want to say something. I want to stay humble, but I have to talk because your guys talk too much. And you know what interesting, I understand how crazy power PR UFC machine.”
“I understand how your guy (McGregor) beginning of the year he tap like chicken (vs Nate Diaz), end of the year he fight for title (vs Eddie Alvarez. Crazy!”
Replying to the roaring crowd, Khabib continued:
“Hey you know guys, this is true this is not trash talking. Irish only 6 million Russian 150 million. I wanna fight with your chicken because this is number one easy fight in lightweight division.”
Ending his rant, Khabib Nurmagomedov asked MMA expert Joe Rogan whether he thought Khabib deserved a title shot. When Joe Rogan agreed that he did, ‘The Eagle’ shot at McGregor and said: "Let’s go, let’s go chicken."
2. "Send me location"
It all started on April 5, 2018, when Conor McGregor showed up at Barclays Center after the conclusion of the UFC 223 media day. The Irishman and his gang were looking to confront Khabib Nurmagomedov, threw a steel dolly at the bus carrying the event's fighters, breaking windows and injuring a few onboard.
Speaking later about the incident at a press conference, Khabib Nurmagomedov said that if McGregor wanted to confront him, he should just "send me location." The words soon caught fire and spread all over the internet.
Replying to a media question about whether the bus incident had distracted him from focusing on UFC 223 (vs Al Iaquinta), Khabib Nurmagomedov said:
"I understand these guys wanna find me. Of course, I tried to go out (of the bus). People talk about I'm scared and I don't go out. You can ask him (Al Iaquinta) or other guys.. But if you wanna find me, just send me location, send me location."
The words resonated through the media hall as the crowd became louder in an instant. Khabib wouldn't have known but he had started a revolution there and then, one that would always be remembered in the history of UFC.
The Eagle later went on to say the exact same words, "send me location," on many other occasions, showing that even he knew that the quote had become legendary.
The latest instance came just two days ahead of Dana White confirming Khabib Nurmagomedov's retirement. Khabib met former CEO of UFC Lorenzo Fertitta and tweeted: "It was good to meet you Lorenzo. Dana send me location."
3. "Tomorrow night, I'm gonna smash your boy, guys."
All the Khabib vs McGregor face-offs and trash-talking had finally led to the two fighters getting a shot at each other inside the octagon at UFC 229.
During the last of the UFC 229 pre-fight press conferences, which were attended by large number of McGregor fans, Khabib Nurmagomedov came unfettered in a show of absolute confidence.
The Eagle: declared to a roaring crowd: "Tomorrow night, I'm gonna smash your boy, guys."
Legend has it that the whole of Ireland shook that night.
When Joe Rogan asked Khabib Nurmagomedov about what the fight meant to 'The Eagle' who was defending his title, he replied: "First of all I wanna say, Alhumdullilah. God give me everything. Alhumdullilah. I know you don't like this. Tomorrow night, I'm gonna smash your boy, guys. I'm gonna smash your boy. And I wanna say thank you - all Irish fans. All fans around the world. Because of you guys, this fight has happened. And tomorrow night, Inshallah, 'And Still'."
It was not the only memorable warning that Khabib Nurmagomedov presented ahead of the fight against McGregor. He had warned Conor that he would not just hit him but change the Irishman's face. However, "I'm gonna smash your boy" would go down as one of the most savage Khabib quotes ever.
4. "I just wanna maul people"
Khabib Nurmagomedov was penciled in to defend his title against Dustin Poirier at UFC 242. During the pre-fight press conference, 'The Eagle' announced his plans in his signature style - simple words, spoken with humility, but threatening nonetheless.
Replying to a media spokesperson who asked Khabib what his plans were for the UFC 242 event and beyond, Khabib said "I just want to maul people," causing a huge roar from those in attendance in the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Khabib Nurmagomedov said: "I just wanna maul people, this is what I wanna do. You know, doesn't matter, Dustin, Tony or other opponents. When I go to the cage, I maul my opponents. All my life, 27-0. People talk about his (Poirier) 6-win streak. What about my 27-win streak? And 11 years undefeated. I don't underestimate this guy. I know he's a tough challenge. But he's not on my level."
Ever since the footage of a nine-year-old Khabib wrestling with a bear had surfaced on the internet, he had been associated with the animal. By saying that he wanted to "maul" his opponents, Khabib was personifying a bear too.
5. "This is number one bullsh*t"
Amusing as 'The Eagle' is out of the octagon, this phrase has seemed to come out of him whenever he has found something absurd. Be it while joking with Daniel Cormier at the American Kickboxing Academy, or during press conferences, calling people out, "This is number one bullsh*t" has become a catchphrase.
Khabib Nurmagomedov has seemed to use variants of this phrase quite a few times too. Take for instance, Khabib calling out Dana White for sending him a contract for fighting Eddie Alvarez, saying, "Don't send me bullsh*t contract," or talking about McGregor's "bullsh*t tweet."
Here are some of his posts using his favorite phrase.