'The Eagle' secured a spectacular victory over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 in October of this year, a success which Melikov congratulated him on.
Additionally, Melikov lauded Khabib for his extraordinary combat sports career and offered his condolences to the fighter over the passing of his father Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov.
Khabib’s father and lifelong coach Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, a highly-reputable combat sports personality in Dagestan, passed away in July of this year.
The acting Head of Dagestan paid tribute to Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, praising him for his legacy as a great trainer and one of the most widely-revered personalities both in and out of Dagestan. Melikov added:
“We have this phrase in the special forces: ‘Overcome yourself and you’ll be unbeatable.’ I think this phrase fully applies to you because, in order to win on such a stage, you must first overcome yourself.”
Furthermore, Melikov recalled that Khabib entered the Justin Gaethje fight despite dealing with injury issues, but still managed to emerge victorious for Dagestan and Russia on the international level.
Melikov once again congratulated Khabib Nurmagomedov for the win.
Khabib Nurmagomedov reiterates that he has indeed retired
Following Sergei Melikov’s congratulatory statements with regard to his career as well as the former’s tribute to the MMA icon’s father, Khabib stated:
“This fight was like no other. The emotions in this fight were completely different. Everything was completely different without my father. I was offered the fight right after everything happened. I had the decision to accept it or turn it down, nobody knew about this, or retire. Or I could come back, fight, and then retire.”
“Now I tell the people close to me that aren’t happy with me retiring that even if I fought 10 more times, I’d still have to face that decision. This decision would come up when I’m 32, 34, 35 – It’s a hard decision because I’ve been fighting all my life. I’ve been on the mats for as long as I remember. It’s difficult to leave and do something else. People can’t understand it but what can you do?”
“We’ll keep going forward. I have many supporters not just in Dagestan, but all of Russia and around the world. I have a responsibility to them, that responsibility worried me. I had serious injuries. I was hospitalized for five days in mid-September. Then I came back and broke my toe.”
“Those words about overcoming yourself are the truth. If a person doesn’t break psychologically, it will be hard to break him physically – Because the mind breaks before the bones. Everything that happened to me psychologically before this fight gave me strength I can’t describe; inside and outside of the Octagon, during my weight cut, and preparation.”
“A big factor in that strength was the immense support of my fans. I would like to thank them. My father and I always used to meet fans when we arrived at the airport and the stadium. This time we thought it would be best not to gather a lot of people. Given this chance, I’d like to thank them for the emotional support. It’s good to know that I have a lot of people behind me.”
“Dagestan doesn’t always show the best image on TV and the internet; I get a lot of motivation when my victories bring positivity to our people.” (*If you use the above quotes, please credit RT Sports MMA for the quotes and translation with an H/T to Sportskeeda for the transcription)
Presently, in spite of The Eagle having retired from the sport of MMA, the UFC hasn’t stripped Khabib Nurmagomedov of the UFC lightweight championship.
Which fighter would you like to see Khabib Nurmagomedov compete against in case he does decide to return to the Octagon? Sound off in the comments.