‘Soon, very soon I think, my career is going to finish’: Khabib Nurmagomedov hinted at retirement plans TWO WEEKS before shock announcement at UFC 254 as lightweight champion expressed desire to ‘fly’ and ‘be free’
- Khabib Nurmagomedov hinted at retirement plans two weeks before UFC 254
- The UFC star shocked the world in ending his career after beating Justin Gaethje
- The 32-year-old revealed he cannot fight after the passing of his father
- In an interview with ESPN, Khabib revealed he wants to ‘fly’ and ‘be free’
Khabib Nurmagomedov shocked the world on Saturday night in announcing his retirement from mixed martial arts in the aftermath of his dominant win over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254.
The Dagestani star took his unblemished professional record to 29 wins, zero losses, following his dominant display over interim champion Gaethje, in which he submitted the American via triangle choke in the second round.
Speaking to Jon Anik in the octagon, an emotional Nurmagomedov announced that he would stand by a promise made to his mother in not fighting anymore, with the 32-year-old rocked by the death of his father, Abdulmanap, who died of covid-19 earlier this year.
Khabib Nurmagomedov hinted at retirement plans in an interview two weeks before UFC 254
The Dagestani star made his shock retirement announcement after his win on Fight Island
But an interview given by the lightweight champion to ESPN two weeks ago appears to foreshadow Nurmagomedov’s retirement plans after UFC 254.
Speaking to Brett Okamoto, the Dagestani expressed his desire to ‘fly’ and ‘be free’, in a clear indication that he had one eye on his post-career life.
‘I am eagle, I want to fly,’ he told the American broadcaster. ‘When my time comes I’m gonna die. But before my time comes I want to fly. I want to be free.
‘I want to do whatever I want. I want to spend time with my family, my friends, with my people. I want to live in my village.
‘Soon, very soon I think, my career is going to finish. And I’m going to begin my new life without all this interview, without all this media stuff, weight cutting, hard training, focusing.
Nurmagomedov lost his father and inspiration Abdulmanap (L) to covid-19 earlier this year
‘I’m going to be getting a new life. And for life, I don’t need too much. Even if you’re a billionaire, you never eat more than one bread in one day.
‘I want to be free, I want to fly, and I want to do whatever I want.’
Emotions ran high on Fight Island on Saturday night. Shortly after earning the submission victory over Gaethje, Nurmagomedov curled up in a ball in the middle of the octagon and let out a flood of tears.
His American rival went over to console his fellow fighter before the Dagestani’s team arrived to comfort the star.
The 32-year-old let out a flood of emotion inside the octagon after beating Justin Gaethje
Nurmagomedov said he wants to ‘fly’ and ‘be free’ in enjoying his post-career life back home
Laying his gloves on the octagon floor, the 32-year-old made the announcement that shocked the world.
‘Today, I want to say, this was my last fight,’ he said. ‘No way am I going to come here without my father. It was first time, after what happened with my father, when UFC called me about Justin.
‘I talk with my mother three days, she don’t want that I go fight without father. I promised her, it’s going to be my last fight, and if I give my word, I have to follow this. It was my last fight here.’
Nurmagomedov’s retirement ends talk of a dream fight with Georges St-Pierre, a former two-weight world champion regarded as one of the best to ever compete in the sport.