Khabib Nurmagomedov is going out on top and he has nothing but gratitude for the world’s biggest fight promotion.
Following confirmation from UFC President Dana White that Nurmagomedov will not be returning to competition after retiring in October, “The Eagle” took to Instagram himself late Thursday evening to address the news and thank White for the opportunity to fight inside the octagon.
“Dana White, thank you so much brother and the entire UFC team for the opportunity to prove myself, you guys have changed many lives forever because of this sport,” Nurmagomedov wrote.
Nurmagomedov debuted with the UFC in January 2012, sporting a 16-0 record compiled while fighting in Russia and Ukraine. He won his first nine fights for the promotion, setting himself up for a vacant lightweight title bout at UFC 223, where he defeated Al Iaquinta to become champion. On his rise to the top, Nurmagomedov didn’t drop a single round on the scorecards.
He went on to successful title defenses against Conor McGregor (at UFC 229, the most successful pay-per-view in company history), Dustin Poirier, and Justin Gaethje. Nurmagomedov submitted all three of those challengers and immediately following his win over Gaethje at UFC 254 in October, he announced his retirement. His pro record stands at 29-0.
Nurmagomedov said that he made a promise to his mother that UFC 254 would mark his final appearance as an active competitor. It was the first fight for Nurmagomedov since the passing of his father and lifelong coach Abdulmanap in July.
“Dana, I’ll never forget your attitude towards me, my father did not forget and my sons will remember you,” Nurmagomedov wrote in his retirement post. “Today there was a real conversation between real men.”
With Nurmagomedov officially retired, top lightweight contenders Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler will compete for the vacant title at UFC 262 on May 15.
See Nurmagomedov’s full, unedited statement below:
It was a good dinner with some great people.
@danawhite thank you so much brother and the entire @ufc team for the opportunity to prove myself, you guys have changed many live forever because of this sport
Dana – I’ll never forget your attitude towards me, my father did not forget and my sons will remember you. Today there was a real conversation between real men.
Also thank you to all team, sparing partners and all fans.
I hope you will accept my decision and understand me.