With yet another win at UFC 254 on Saturday, Khabib Nurmagomedov added yet another powerful chapter to his undefeated career. And then he announced he was ending that career.
At 29-0, the UFC lightweight champion said that his win over Justin Gaethje would be his last fight. He cited the death of his father Abdulmanap, who died in July of COVID-19 complications, as the reason for walking away from the sport at age 32.
It was a shocking moment for the MMA world, and one that changes the future of the entire UFC lightweight division. Still, nearly every MMA fighter in sight had nothing but praise for a champion going out on top.
Even Conor McGregor, a man that has feuded with Nurmagomedov extensively over the years, had kind words:
Nurmagomedov’s retirement also opens the door for a new lightweight champion, and McGregor’s upcoming bout against Dustin Poirier would be a natural pick for the next title fight. Poirier himself seemed to approve of that speculation.
In his postfight interview, Nurmagomedov specifically mentioned he hopes to go out as the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in UFC’s rankings. Jon Jones, the man who currently occupies that spot, endorsed the idea, at least until he takes a run at the heavyweight crown after exiting the lightweight division.
And of course, fighter after fighter heaped praise upon Nurmagomedov’s win, his career and his father, including some of the biggest names in the sport:
More from Yahoo Sports: