5 most memorable father-son/daughter moments in the UFC

Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov (left) celebrated with his son Khabib Nurmagomedov (right) after the latter
Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov (left) celebrated with his son Khabib Nurmagomedov (right) after the latter's incredible victory at UFC 242 [Image courtesy: UFC on YouTube]

Apart from its high-level MMA fights, the UFC has also witnessed several heartwarming family moments. With many people across the world celebrating 'Father's Day' on June 16, 2024, one can't help but revisit some of the most memorable moments featuring fathers and their sons/daughters in the context of the UFC organization and the sport of MMA.

Accompanying one's father to a fight-related press conference, or to the fight itself, isn't something that a lot of people would get to experience as a child. One can only imagine how extraordinary and intriguing it would be. Well, today, we take a special look at a few such memorable moments between fathers and their children in the UFC.


#5 Conor McGregor and Conor McGregor Jr. prepare for UFC 257

Combat sports megastar Conor McGregor was booked to face Dustin Poirier in a lightweight bout at UFC 257 (January 2021). 'The Notorious' previously beat Poirier via first-round TKO back at UFC 178 (September 2014), and many were eagerly awaiting their rematch.

McGregor adopted a respectful approach toward Poirier, which was in stark contrast to the relentless trash talk he'd directed at 'The Diamond' before their first fight. Amid the fanfare surrounding their rematch and discussions about his friendly behavior, the Irishman also won hearts by displaying the endearing family man facet of his persona.

Heading into UFC 257, the doting father and his first-born son, Conor Jack McGregor Jr., were all smiles while they both signed the event's official posters.

McGregor ended up losing to Poirier via second-round TKO at UFC 257. Additionally, he suffered a leg injury and first-round TKO defeat in their trilogy fight at UFC 264 (July 2021). Following a near-three-year hiatus, 'The Notorious' was to headline UFC 303 (June 29, 2024), competing in a welterweight bout against Michael Chandler. However, an injury ruled the former two-division champion out of the Chandler matchup.


#4 Dustin Poirier's sweet message for Parker Noelle Poirier after UFC 302

A former featherweight contender, Dustin Poirier eventually cemented his legacy as one of the best lightweights ever. The American MMA stalwart has fought for multiple world championships, including the BMF title once and the undisputed UFC lightweight title thrice.

The former interim UFC lightweight champion last fought UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev at UFC 302 (June 1, 2024). Despite a valiant effort, 'The Diamond' lost via fifth-round submission. Poirier subsequently acknowledged that it was likely his final MMA fight, but he hasn't ruled out a potential comeback.

During his post-fight octagon interview, Poirier notably hinted at retirement. He thanked his grandmother, mother, and wife. He also expressed his love for his daughter, Parker Noelle Poirier, who'd accompanied him during the fight week festivities. Parker was in attendance for the fight and was seemingly emotional after watching her father lose.

During his interview, 'The Diamond' delivered an inspiring message to his daughter and others. Underscoring that he's proud of her, Poirier stated:

"And to Parker, Daddy's fine. I love you so much. I'm so proud of you. We alright, baby. Always chase your dreams. It's a beautiful thing."

Watch Poirier's stirring interview below:


#3 Stipe Miocic's phone conversation with Bojan Miocic after UFC heavyweight title thriller

The UFC 226 (July 2018) event was headlined by a super-fight between then-UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and then-UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier. 'DC' defeated Miocic via first-round KO and won the heavyweight belt. Their rematch headlined UFC 241 (August 2019), wherein Miocic rallied to beat Cormier via fourth-round TKO to recapture the title.

'The Thrill and the Agony' UFC series featured post-fight backstage footage of Stipe having a phone conversation with his father, Bojan Miocic. The heavyweight great said:

"I love you. I'm so happy for you, dad. I got this belt. It's just for you, okay?"

The Cleveland native of Croatian descent alluded to his father's courageous battle against cancer. He indicated that his father was declared cancer-free the same day as UFC 241. Miocic asserted:

"My dad just got cured of cancer, by the way ... How awesome is that, right?"

Watch Miocic's phone conversation with his father below (2:48-3:18):

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Stipe Miocic defeated 'DC' via unanimous decision in their trilogy fight in August 2020, but he then lost the heavyweight belt via second-round KO in a rematch against Francis Ngannou in March 2021. Miocic's father passed away, and he addressed it in an Instagram post in November 2022.

The MMA legend posted an emotional tribute to his father, celebrating his life and his contributions to their family. Currently, Miocic is expected to fight UFC heavyweight champion Jon Jones for the title, potentially in Nov. 2024.


#2 Tom Aspinall handing his UFC title to Andy Aspinall

The UFC 295 (November 2023) event was set to feature a UFC heavyweight title clash between reigning champion Jon Jones and former divisional kingpin Stipe Miocic. Unfortunately, a pectoral injury to Jones led to the long-awaited fight being postponed yet again. Meanwhile, the UFC booked the UK's Tom Aspinall to fight Russia's Sergei Pavlovich for the interim UFC heavyweight title at UFC 295.

Aspinall bested the fearsome Pavlovich via first-round KO and captured the interim UFC heavyweight championship, the first world title in his MMA career. The young British star was awarded the belt by UFC CEO Dana White. The newly-crowned champion then handed the belt to his father, Andy Aspinall, and dedicated the victory to him.

Many credit Andy for sacrificing his high-paying job and starting a BJJ school in 2005 to help prepare his son for an MMA career. Years of his hard work paid dividends at UFC 295, as his son secured interim heavyweight gold.

Presently, Tom Aspinall is booked to defend his belt in a rematch against Curtis Blaydes at UFC 304 (July 27, 2024). The Aspinall-Blaydes winner is expected to fight the Jones-Miocic winner for the undisputed UFC heavyweight title.


#1 Khabib Nurmagomedov and Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov — 'The Eagle's' respect for his parents

At the UFC 242 (September 2019) event, then-UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov defeated then-interim UFC lightweight champion Dustin Poirier via third-round submission. During his post-fight octagon interview, 'The Eagle' honored his father by expressing his gratitude toward him and the rest of his team.

The Nurmagomedov family patriarch, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, played a significant role in coaching MMA combatants in their native Dagestan, Russia. He helped talented fighters like Khabib Nurmagomedov, Islam Makhachev, and many others evolve to compete on the world stage. As a sign of respect, 'The Eagle' handed his belt to his father after beating Poirier at UFC 242.

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Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov passed away in July 2020. Following his father's demise, Khabib competed in one last MMA fight, defending his UFC lightweight belt by beating interim UFC lightweight champion Justin Gaethje via second-round submission at UFC 254 (October 2020).

During his post-fight octagon interview, Khabib announced his MMA retirement. Alluding to the immense respect he has for his parents, he explained that after his father's passing, his mother didn't want him to continue competing in MMA. He promised his mother that the UFC 254 clash would be his last fight. To this day, he's stayed true to his word and never returned to professional MMA competition.

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Edited by Tejas Rathi
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