Khabib Nurmagomedov has finally fulfilled his late father’s dream of retiring as the pound-for-pound number one in the world having never tasted defeat.
The Russian submitted Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 on Saturday on Fight Island to defend his lightweight title for the third bout in a row.
Although two of the three judges sitting cage-side felt the American won the opening stanza, the result was seemingly never in doubt as ‘The Eagle’ managed to gain top mount with ease.
After finally getting the submission in the second round, an emotional Khabib confirmed he would no longer fight in order to respect his mother’s wishes, but pleaded with UFC chiefs to recognise him as the best fighter on the planet.
On Tuesday afternoon, the dream of the 32-year-old and his late father Abdulmanap was duly realised as the UFC released the updated pound-for-pound men’s rankings, with the 29-0 superstar sitting comfortably on top.
Khabib wrote on Instagram: “It was the work of my life, I never got anything easy, and nothing was given to me because I’m nice guy.
“Hard work, hope for Allah and patience, this three ingredient helps me to get successful, and of course, control and advises from my Father, who invested in me a lot of time and work.”
Nurmagomedov senior passed away in July after suffering complications caused by COVID-19, leaving Khabib with a gaping hole in his corner team.
Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov is one of the greatest MMA coaches in the history of the sport and he has created a plethora of champions and contenders from the region of Dagestan in Russia.
He wanted his son to retire as the undisputed, undefeated, pound-for-pound number one fighter on the planet and Saturday’s victory in Flash Forum underlines the incredible work he and Khabib put in.