Khabib Nurmagomedov is officially the former UFC lightweight champion. “The Eagle” announced his retirement following his UFC 254 title defense against Justin Gaethje in October.
“Today I want to say, this was my last fight. No way I can come here without my father,” said Khabib in his UFC 254 Octagon interview. “I promised (my mother) this would be my last fight.”
The fight promotion held out hope that the undefeated lightweight would reconsider his decision. After months of speculation, meetings, everyone who’s anyone in the industry weighing in on whether they thought the Russian would return, Nurmagomedov’s 155-pound title reign is over.
ESPN first reported the news. After a meeting with Nurmagomedov, UFC president Dana White is ready to crown a new champion. He always maintained the Nurmagomedov didn’t want to hold up the division, and a new champion will be crowned on May 15 at UFC 262.
“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.”
Oliveira (30-8, 1 NC) is ranked third in the lightweight division. He’s riding an eight-fight winning streak. He’s earned 10 Performance of the Night bonuses, has the most submission wins in UFC history with 14. “Do Bronx” is tied for the most finishes in the promotion’s history.
Chandler (22-5) is the former three-time Bellator MMA lightweight champion. He made his Octagon debut at UFC 257 in January and made a statement with his first-round knockout of Dan Hooker.
UFC 262 takes place on May 15 at a venue not yet announced.