Khabib Nurmagomedov's legacy in the UFC is unparalleled. The Octagon has never been graced by a fighter quite as magnificent as the undefeated and undisputed lightweight champion.
Having lost his father and trainer Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov earlier this year due to Covid-19 related complications, Khabib faced a daunting emotional and physical challenge when he stepped inside the cage to fight Justin Gaethje at UFC 254.
And still...the undefeated and undisputed Lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov
Heading into the fight, many analysts and fans claimed that Justin Gaethje would be the toughest test of the Russian's career because of the American's high-profile wrestling coupled with devastating knockout power. Gaethje himself believed he would be the first guy to make Khabib Nurmagomedov bleed inside the cage.
However, the story that unfolded once the cage doors shut behind the pair was completely different from the narrative heading into the fight.
Khabib Nurmagomedov put up an absolutely dominant performance to subdue Justin Gaethje and he took just a couple of rounds to do it.
Khabib looked like he didn't fear Gaethje's power as he dictated the pace from the get-go. Gaethje spoke a lot about how he would attack the champ's legs with vicious calf kicks but the Dagestan native just took it in his stride and kept piling on the pressure.
Then, the inevitable happened. Nurmagomedov took Gaethje down towards the end of the first round and locked in an armbar but the latter was saved by the bell. In the second round though, Gaethje wouldn't be so lucky.
Khabib took him down in the beginning stages of the round and transitioned to his back, managing to put Gaethje in a triangle choke that left him unconscious.
Following the fight, an emotional Khabib Nurmagomedov broke down inside the octagon and announced his retirement from MMA.
UFC President Dana White later took to social media to send a heartwarming message to the greatest lightweight warrior of all time. In the message, White hailed Nurmagomedov as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC as well as the greatest fighter of all time.
Dana White said:
Congrats @khabib_nurmagomedov you accomplished EVERYTHING you set out to do. You are the P4P best fighter in the world and you truly are the G.O.A.T of the sport. #29-0
Having previously maintained that Jon Jones was the GOAT and before him Anderson Silva, it would seem the UFC president is of the mind Khabib's legacy has eclipsed both of theirs now.Published 25 Oct 2020, 13:42 IST