UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov stunned the world not only with his performance at UFC 254, but also with his surprise retirement announcement. Even his coach, Javier Mendez, didn’t know that Khabib was going to call it a career after he put Justin Gaethje to sleep.
The only thing that Khabib asked when he made his announcement was to be ranked No. 1 in the UFC men’s pound-for-pound ranking, which is a ranking voted on by journalists, including MMAWeekly.com‘s Ken Pishna and Jeff Cain.
Khabib displaced Jon Jones at No. 1 in the latest rankings update, achieving his final goal. Jones wasn’t happy about it, calling it “No. 1 bulls–t!” but Khabib certainly was pleased. He even mentioned it in an interview with Russia’s RT Sport, saying there is nothing left for him to accomplish.
“Everyone reacts differently. Of course Dana [White] wants me to continue fighting and generate revenue. (But) I can make money myself. I’m at the peak of my career, but I made this decision and I think this is the best time for me to make it,” Khabib said.
“Not everyone can retire at their peak, but I know that in a year, two or five, I’d have to face that decision again. I did enough in the sport to be considered the best.”
Khabib’s retirement stats include a 29-0 spotless overall record, including 13 UFC victories. He won the UFC lightweight championship and defended it three times, including the submission of Gaethje.
He rocketed to superstardom when he finished Conor McGregor at UFC 229, which was one of his three title defenses.
Of Khabib’s 13 UFC bouts, only twice did he lose a round on the scorecards. He also holds or is tied for several UFC records.
Khabib finished 19 of his 29 overall bouts inside the duration. Early in his career, he won two one-night tournaments: one was a four-man tournament, the other was an eight-man tournament.
Now he stands atop the UFC men’s pound-for-pound rankings, which he believes puts a stamp on a stellar career.
“Today I was ranked the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter, so the mission is accomplished,” Khabib said. “What else is there to do? Make money? I’ll always be able to do that.”
Fighters react to Khabib Nurmagomedov retirement
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