Undisputed lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov defended his title on Saturday during the main event of UFC 254. He defeated Justin Gaethje and reached 29-0 in his MMA career, and he apparently did so mere weeks after a surprising injury. Nurmagomedov reportedly broke his foot three weeks before his final UFC fight.
Speaking with reporters after the match, UFC President Dana White provided information about the injury. He said that everyone was lucky to have seen Nurmagomedov fight during UFC 254 due to "what this guy has been through" recently. "I’m hearing rumors of other things that I didn’t know about, that you guys will hear about when he comes out later I’m sure," White said. He then explained that the fighter had recently been in the hospital.
"Apparently he was in the hospital because he broke his foot three weeks ago. He’s got two broken toes and a bone in his foot that is broken or something," White continued. "That’s what his corner were telling me and he never told anybody, just walking around so he is one of the toughest human beings on the planet. He is the number one pound-for-pound fighter on the planet and seriously you have to start putting him up there in GOAT status."
Despite recently suffering a broken foot, Nurmagomedov entered the octagon for his bout with Gaethje and turned in a dominant performance. He secured the win during the second round, putting his opponent to sleep with a triangle choke. Nurmagomedov then revealed to the world that UFC 254 would be his final fight. His goal was to honor his father, who had passed away in July, but he also promised his mother that he would walk away from the promotion.
"This was my last fight," Nurmagomedov said following his victory. "There's no way I'm going to come here without my father. ... After what happened with my father — when UFC called me about Justin — I talked with my mother [for] three days, 'should I go fight without my father?' I promised her it was gonna be my last fight. And if I give my word, I have to follow it." Nurmagomedov further showed his seriousness by leaving his gloves in the octagon before walking away.
When the fighter revealed that he was retiring from the UFC, fans and fellow fighters alike praised him on social media, they said that he is a true legend and that his legacy is unmatched. White, on the other hand, called Nurmagomedov "the baddest motherf—er on the planet."