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Khabib Nurmagomedov retires after choking Justin Gaethje unconscious at UFC 254

Khabib Nurmagomedov

Khabib Nurmagomedov is a special kind of fighter or, should we say, was a special kind of fighter.

Every time he has been paired up with someone who could potentially possess the tools to hand him his first defeat, Khabib Nurmagomedov just kept moving forward and smothered his opposition.

It was no different in the main event of UFC 254 on Saturday night, when Nurmagomedov retained his UFC lightweight title with a submission victory over Justin Gaethje.

Gaethje’s wild style and refusal to back down was expected to cause problems for Nurmagomedov and the leg kicks of the American did find a home but, ultimately, it was the Khabib show in Abu Dhabi.

After taking the first round 10-9, Nurmagomedov only intensified the pressure in the second and did what he usually does.

A takedown was followed by a transition to a dominant position and the moment that Nurmagomedov spotted the opening for a triangle choke, the undefeated Russian seized it.

Nurmagomedov cinched up the choke and drew the tap from Gaethje but it was not acknowledged by referee Jason Herzog.

Nurmagomedov continued choking until he felt Gaethje go limp and after letting the official know that his opponent was unconscious, Nurmagomedov let go of the submission and emotionally celebrated his first win since the death of his father.

Moving to 29-0 and with the division all but cleaned out, it was hard to say what would be next for Nurmagomedov and he clearly felt the same as he made the decision to retire with his legacy intact.

“This was my last fight,” an emotional Nurmagomedov said in his post-fight interview.

“After what happened with my father and the UFC called me about Justin, I spoke with my mother for three days. She didn’t want me to go and fight without my father but I promised her it would be my last fight.

“And if I give my word, I have to follow this. It was my last fight here.”

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