Khabib Nurmagomedov further cemented his status as arguably the greatest UFC fighter of all time with victory over Justin Gaethje in Abu Dhabi on Saturday night.
The undefeated UFC lightweight champion then stunned fans by announcing his retirement during his post-fight interview inside the Octagon.
Khabib, 32, increased his flawless record to 29-0 with a triangle choke submission of Gaethje in the second round, but now wants to move away from the limelight.
"It was my last fight,” Khabib confirmed. “There's no way I'm going to come here without my father. It was the first time after what happened with my father, when the UFC called me about (fighting) Justin, I talked with my mother for three days.
"She didn't want me to fight without father, but I promised her it was going to be my last fight, and if I give my word, I have to follow this. It was my last fight here.”
He added: "I know only one thing I want from the UFC: Tuesday, you guys have to put me number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world because I deserve this.
"Undisputed UFC lightweight champion, 13-0, 13 in the UFC, 29 in my pro MMA career. I think I deserve this."
One sporting superstar who was firmly behind Khabib on Saturday evening is Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ahead of the fight, the Juventus and Portugal forward was asked who was going to win the main event at UFC 254.
“Of course, of course, Khabib’s going to win,” he said on Instagram. “My brother!”
Cristiano’s prediction came true.
And following Khabib’s final victory, Ronaldo sent the following message to the UFC star via his Instagram story: “Congrats bro! Your father is proud of you.”
Ronaldo can empathise with the pain Khabib has experienced this year due to the untimely death of his father.
Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, who was also Khabib’s coach, passed away in July aged 57 due to complications caused by Covid-19.
Ronaldo’s father, Jose Dinis Aveiro, died of liver failure aged 52 back in 2005 when the footballer was just 20 and plying his trade for Manchester United.
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