Khabib Nurmagomedov turned in a career-high performance on Saturday with a second-round submission of Justin Gaethje that unified the UFC lightweight title and extended his unbeaten streak to 29-0.
Then Nurmagomedov shocked everyone by putting down his gloves and announcing his retirement after breaking down in tears with the 29th win of his career.
Fighting back emotion, Nurmagomedov explained his decision to retire as a way to honor his mother after the unexpected death of his father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, from COVID-19 earlier this year.
The announcement took the MMA world by surprise, and here’s how fighters – including some of the sport’s biggest stars – reacted to the news on Saturday night.
Good performance @TeamKhabib.
I will carry on.
Respect and condolences on your father again also. To you and family.
Yours sincerely, The McGregors.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) October 24, 2020
I want to congratulate Khabib for an outstanding career. I know he made his father along with millions of fans around the world incredibly proud today. May God continue to bless him on his journey.
— BONY (@JonnyBones) October 24, 2020
Getting emotional watching this. Wow. Khabib respecting his mother and following through with his word. What a man. Deffo a top 5 goat of MMA. Happy retirement. pic.twitter.com/dkqOlcS3OR
— D (@darrentill2) October 24, 2020
— KAMARU USMAN (@USMAN84kg) October 24, 2020