UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov brought his mixed martial arts career to an epic end by choking out Justin Gaethje in the main event of UFC 254 over the weekend. Following the fight, Nurmagomedov placed his gloves in the middle of the cage and announced his retirement.
While there is no doubting just how accomplished the 29-0 champion was throughout his career, a new bit of information makes his latest victory all the more impressive.
According to UFC president Dana White, Nurmagomedov broke three bones in his foot just weeks before the fight.
“I do (think he’ll stay retired),” Dana White said at the post-fight press conference, as transcribed by MMAjunkie.com. “What this guy’s been through – we’re all lucky that we got to see him fight tonight. I’m hearing rumors of other things that I didn’t know about that you guys will hear about when he comes out later. Apparently he was in the hospital – he broke his foot three weeks ago. So he has two broken toes and a bone that was broken in his foot. (He) never told anybody walking around. He is one of the toughest human beings on the planet and he is the No.1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. Seriously, you have to start putting him up there in GOAT status.
“He is the baddest mother(expletive) on the planet. I can tell it almost smelled like an upset tonight the way that he reacted at the weigh-ins, the way that he acted when he was walking out tonight. He didn’t look like himself. Breathing heavy and taking deep breaths. But wow.”
With the win, Khabib advanced to 29-0 in his professional career. His 29 consecutive wins is the longest winning streak in all of mixed martial arts. Khabib first won the vacant lightweight championship on April 7, 2018, at UFC 223 when he scored a dominant decision win over Al Iaquinta in Brooklyn, New York. He became the first Russian to win a UFC title. The submission victory over Gaethje was his third title defense. Previously, Nurmagomedov choked out Poirier in his second title defense. Nurmagomedov’s first title defense was a submission victory over Conor McGregor in October 2018.