Khabib Nurmagomedov produced a stunning performance at UFC 254 to defeat Justin Gaethje in the main event to cement his standing as the undisputed UFC Lightweight Champion. 'The Eagle' forced 'The Highlight' to submit in Round 2 of their title unification fight with a triangle choke and extended his record to 29-0.
After the fight, Khabib announced his shock retirement from the sport and tributes have been flowing in from all corners, including from football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.
Khabib Nurmagomedov says he cannot fight without his father alongside him
Khabib Nurmagomedov came into UFC 254 on the back of a personal loss as his father, Abdulmanap, passed away in July of this year. The renowned MMA trainer from Dagestan played a huge role in The Eagle's career and his rise in the world of Mixed Martial Arts.
After the fight, Khabib said that he cannot continue fighting without his father alongside him and revealed that he had promised his mother that this will be his last outing inside the Octagon.
“It was my last fight. There’s no way I’m going to come here without my father,” he said. “It was the first time after what happened with my father, when the UFC called me about (fighting) Justin, I talked with my mother for three days."
“She didn’t want me to fight without father, but I promised her it was going to be my last fight, and if I give my word, I have to follow this. It was my last fight here."
The Dagestani fighter also made a request to UFC and asked them to make him the number 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
Following his final fight, many stars have been paying their tributes to Khabib Nurmagomedov, including his arch-rival, Conor McGregor.
Khabib also received a special message from one of football's biggest superstars, Cristiano Ronaldo. The Juventus star put up a story on his official Instagram account congratulating the undisputed UFC Lightweight Champion.
Cristiano Ronaldo shares a strong bond with Khabib Nurmagomedov
Cristiano Ronaldo has been a friend and fan of Khabib Nurmagomedov and even predicted that The Eagle would defeat Gaethje in the main event of UFC 254. During an Instagram Live session from his personal account, Cristiano Ronaldo predicted that the Eagle would defend his title.
Khabib has also discussed his friendship with Cristiano Ronaldo in the past. Khabib said that he always turns to Ronaldo for advice.
"He always gives me advice. I also speak to Karim Benzema and Zlatan Ibrahimovic."
"I love football and I have followed these guys from a young age and for me, they give me great energy."
It was a very touching tribute by Cristiano Ronaldo towards his good friend who had to deal with a lot during this year. While the MMA fans will be hoping Khabib Nurmagomedov would reconsider his decision and make a comeback, he will always be remembered as one of the greatest to grace the Octagon.Published 25 Oct 2020, 11:46 IST