Khabib Nurmagomedov left behind an indelible legacy in the UFC upon his retirement. His decade-long tenure at the promotion saw him dominate the ever-talented lightweight division in unprecedented fashion. Nurmagomedov also rearranged the pound-for-pound ranking by steadily climbing to the very top.
On the other hand, Jon Anik is a powerhouse of a color commentary who has been around for a good chunk of the UFC's history. Incidentally, the commentator's debut for the UFC coincided with the legendary Dagestani's entry into the famed octagon.
Meeting each other backstage at the UFC Hall of Fame, Anik shared this special piece of information with the former lightweight champion and said:
"So, the first night I called UFC fights was the night you made your debut. At Nashville, Tennesee. Joe Silva pulled me aside, and he said, 'Hey, I just want you to know, this is Khabib Nurmagomedov.' You know it's my first night, so I just like freak out, you know."
Anik was referring to UFC on FX: Guillard vs. Miller's preliminary card, which saw debutant Nurmagomedov dominantly defeat Kamal Shalorus by submission.
As fate would have it, Jon Anik also made his UFC debut as a commentator on the same night, making Khabib's fight one of the first few he ever called. He mentioned how excited he was to begin life at the UFC and the high praise with which the young fighter was introduced to him by Joe Silva, the former matchmaker and talent relations head at UFC.
Check out the video of their backstage exchange here:
Khabib Nurmagomedov and Jon Anik are a duo for the ages
Both Nurmagomedov and Jon Anik have grown and left a mark in the UFC. Anik's iconic play-by-play commentary is a constant on broadcasts and cannot be done without. However, the best parallel to draw between them is most clearly demonstrated by their first and last interviews together.
When 'The Eagle' collected his first win in the UFC, Anik was on-hand to warmly welcome the youngster to the United States of America.
Watch the duo's first interview together:
All smiles, both of them projected a future for themselves in the company in that moment. Cut to 10 years later, Khabib Nurmagomedov's teary farewell octagon interview after his fight against Justin Gaethje was conducted by none other than Anik himself.
Watch the historic retirement announcement below:
Visibly matured from years of experience, both veterans did justice to what was an iconic farewell of a legendary fighter and an all-time great.