UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov announced his retirement from mixed martial arts on Saturday following an impressive title defense against Justin Gaethje in the main event of UFC 254.
Following his win, Nurmagomedov was overcome with emotion before officially hanging up his gloves.
It marks the end of a run by one of the all-time greats in the sport, and the UFC wasted no time paying tribute to Nurmagomedov’s father, Abdulmanap, who passed away earlier this year from COVID-19 complications and was instrumental in the champion’s career.
For the tribute, the UFC put together a video package while UFC commentator Jon Anik narrated along with a reading of Carl Sandburg’s “A Father to His Son.”
The poem starts:
A father sees his son nearing manhood.
What shall he tell that son?
“Life is hard; be steel; be a rock.”
And this might stand him for the storms
and serve him for humdrum monotony
and guide him among sudden betrayals
and tighten him for slack moments.
“Life is a soft loam; be gentle; go easy.”
And this too might serve him.
Tell him to be alone often and get at himself
and above all tell himself no lies about himself
whatever the white lies and protective fronts
he may use against other people.
Tell him solitude is creative if he is strong
and the final decisions are made in silent rooms.
Tell him to be different from other people
if it comes natural and easy being different.
Let him have lazy days seeking his deeper motives.
Let him seek deep for where he is born natural.
Then he may understand Shakespeare
and the Wright brothers, Pasteur, Pavlov,
Michael Faraday and free imaginations
Bringing changes into a world resenting change.
He will be lonely enough
to have time for the work
he knows as his own.
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.
Nurmagomedov 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.