“The Eagle” has finally vacated the lightweight throne. Top contenders will now raise their banners in the war to claim the empty crown and stand atop one of MMA’s most treacherous weight classes.
Khabib Nurmagomedov had been in talks with UFC President Dana White regarding the future of his MMA career. On Thursday, March 19 at 11:36 PM of the year 2021, the undeniably tenacious Dana White officially announced on Twitter that he would stop pursuing Khabib to stay away from retirement and that the now-former UFC lightweight champion is officially retired at 29-0.
Khabib Nurmagomedov Officially Retires
Now we all know post-UFC 254 that Khabib Nurmagomedov retiring/staying retired was inevitable. The key to unlocking victory for Dana was to provide Khabib with the picture-perfect matchup. This would satisfy Khabib in getting the perfect ending that he and his father Abdulmanap had envisioned for 30-0 and the epitome of Khabib’s career. Unfortunately, no one imagined COVID-19 entering the picture and the obstacles it would cause for MMA.
Khabib had his cursed fight with Tony Ferguson postponed due to the early stages of COVID-19 travel restrictions. Then his father passed away after battling complications with COVID-19, while having recently suffered a heart attack. After finishing Gaethje in such an easy fashion, he emotionally retired in front of the applauding few people who witnessed the great Dagestani champion enter the octagon for the last time in his MMA career.
Why should you take this with a pinch of salt? Retiring in MMA has the same worth as dousing ember with gasoline. We will never find answers if you pressure the source. You have to wait it out. Notice, when fighters feel ready and miss the taste of blood, that’s when they announce they’re coming back from retirement. Oh, and if they need another paycheck too. Maybe Khabib can be the one to stay true to his word and truly stay retired. Dana White probably laughed at the last sentence. True retirements are like seeing a shooting star. And here is the final reason why Khabib’s retirement might be short-lived.
Retirement vs Legacy
Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov was the patriarch of the little clan Islam, Khabib, Zubaira, Abubakar, etc. were a part of. Abdulmanap was the Godfather, to a sense. When Khabib committed his atrocious post-fight attack on Team McGregor in retaliation to months of infuriating banter between the 2 camps, he knew that the only person he would answer was Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, his father. Abdulmanap’s sole dream and wish for his son and heir to Nurmagomedov’s legacy was to reach 30-0, with a possible super-fight with George Saint-Pierre to cap it off.
After his father’s passing, Mama Nurmagomedov pleaded with her son Khabib, who was now the leader of their family, to retire and not fight anymore. As any good son would, he complied. Much to the dismay of Dana White, who, upon discovering this, started working at attempts to convince him to return. Now here lays the controversial decision for Khabib Nurmagomedov to make.
Will Khabib Nurmagomedov obey his father’s wishes and complete the 30-0 legacy? Or will Khabib comply with his mother’s wishes and retire from fighting ultimately, in a sense disrespecting his father’s wishes? Khabib Nurmagomedov has suffered a lot in the past year. He deserves peace. But Peter Ustinov once said, “Life is unfair but remember, sometimes it is unfair in your favor.” Let Khabib make with that what he wants. The clock ticks.
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