He himself announced his retirement last year but the question still loomed: “Would Khabib Nurmagomedov make a shock return to the Octagon?”
However, arguably the greatest mixed martial artist of all time is officially retired after Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White confirmed it on Twitter on Thursday.
“29-0 it is,” White tweeted. “He is 100 officially retired. It was incredible to watch you work Khabib. Thank you for EVERYTHING and enjoy whatever is next my friend.”
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Nurmagomedov, after defeating Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 in October 2020 to defend his lightweight title for the third time, stunned the world announcing his retirement
The 32-year-old finished with a perfect 29-0 career record and 13-0 UFC record, also retiring as the lightweight champion.
Nurmagomedov’s father and coach, Abdulmanap, died in July 2020 after complications from Covid-19. Nurmagomedov said he talked with his mother for three days before deciding to accept the fight with Gaethje.
An emotional Nurmagomedov said after his July fight: “Today, this was my last fight. Ain’t no way I’m going to come here without my father.”
Despite announcing his retirement, White had reportedly held out hope that the Dagestani fighter might make a return to the Octagon.
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However, according to ESPN, White and Nurmagomedov met in Las Vegas, and the Russian told White he does not intend to fight again.
“Khabib is retired and doesn’t wanna hold up the division,” White told ESPN via text message. “Tonight was our final meeting and he is retired.”
With the lightweight championship belt vacant, White told ESPN that the UFC is finalizing a lightweight title fight between Michael Chandler and Charles Oliveira for UFC 262 on May 15.