Khabib Nurmagomedov enjoyed an illustrious career before finally hanging up the gloves and retiring from MMA in 2020. The Dagestani Sambo practitioner captured the UFC lightweight championship in 2018 and defended the belt three times.
At UFC 223, Khabib Nurmagomedov faced Al Iaquinta where the latter was roped in on short notice for the day of the weigh-ins. After a five-round back-and-forth, Nurmagomedov was crowned as the new 155 lbs champion via a unanimous decision.
Following this victory, the Russian champion went on to make his first title defense against Conor McGregor at UFC 229. The combatants locked horns at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas in 2018. Khabib Nurmagomedov implemented his relentless wrestling pressure and took down the Irishman multiple times.
In the fourth round, Nurmagomedov caught McGregor in a rear-naked choke, forcing the former champion to tap. An agitated Khabib jumped out of the cage after defeating Conor McGregor, attacking the Irishman's cornermen in the crowd. This ultimately led to the NSAC (New York State Athletic Commission) suspending Nurmagomedov for nine months.
The UFC decided not to keep the division on hold in the absence of the undisputed champion. The interim lightweight championship was put on the line at UFC 236 between Dustin Poirier and the then-featherweight champion, Max Holloway. 'The Diamond' secured the unanimous decision victory and was set to face Khabib Nurmagomedov next.
At UFC 242, 'The Eagle' locked horns with Poirier at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. Khabib Nurmagomedov displayed immense grit in the third round when Poirier caught the undisputed champ with a tight guillotine choke. Nurmagomedov popped his head free from the hold and went on to submit Dustin with his own rear-naked choke in the third round.
Khabib Nurmagomedov's final appearance in the Octagon
Justin Gaethje defeated Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 and claimed the interim lightweight title. 'The Highlight' made his attempt at unifying the belts against the undisputed Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 254. The fight took place on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi and marked the third title defense for Nurmagomedov.
In round two, 'The Eagle' caught one of Justin Gaethje's leg kicks and proceeded to take the latter's back on the ground. Nurmagomedov caught Gaethje in a triangle submission. Referee Jason Herzog then stopped the fight. Khabib secured the victory and announced his retirement in the post-fight interview.