UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov stole the show on Saturday, unifying the belt by defeating interim champion Justin Gaethje by second-round submission. It was “The Eagle’s” 29th professional victory and according to the Russian fighter, it will be his last.
After a wild first round, Nurmagomedov got Gaethje to the ground in the second round and sunk in a triangle choking. Gaethje, who appeared to tap multiple times, was choked out by The Eagle before the referee stopped the fight.
After his hand was raised inside the Octagon during UFC 254, Nurmagomedov revealed that he was retiring from the sport, citing his mother not wanting him to continue to fight without his late father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov.
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Many of The Eagle’s colleagues reacted to his bout with “The Highlight” and they can be read below:
Fighters React to Nurmagomedov’s Impressive UFC 254 Victory
Nurmagomedov’s biggest rival in the UFC, Conor McGregor, tweeted, “Good performance @TeamKhabib. I will carry on. Respect and condolences on your father again also. To you and family. Yours sincerely, The McGregors.”
Former UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones initially picked Gaethje as the winner of the bout. He wrote, “I’m going with Gaethje for this one. BY KO!”
After Nurmagomedov finished The Highlight, “Bones” tweeted, “#Khabib just proved why he is the champ.” He followed his tweet up by writing, “Damn, levels to this s***.”
Jones mentioned how the referee didn’t notice Gaethje tapping from Nurmagomedov’s triangle, writing, “damn referee let Gaethje down.”
The light heavyweight king gave massive props to The Eagle, tweeting, “Until I take that heavily crown, I grant you the spot. Enjoy Champ.” He continued, “15 world titles, numbers don’t lie.”
“I want to congratulate Khabib for an outstanding career, “Bones continued. “I know he made his father along with millions of fans around the world incredibly proud today. May God continue to bless him on his journey.”
He continued, “Definitely a powerful moment, but my logic is definitely not clouded.”
Former heavyweight and light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, who is also Nurmagomedov’s teammate at American Kickboxing Academy, tweeted, “Congratulations to the greatest champion in @ufc history. What a career, we are forever grateful for the time we got to spend with you my brother. 29-0 undefeated and undisputed.”
Former bantamweight and flyweight champion Henry Cejudo wrote, “Congrats on your amazing career @khabib_nurmagomedov you will truly be missed. I know your dad is proud of the amazing son he has raised. This year has been a year of the greatest combat Sports athletes of all time retiring in front of the world. #wrestlingislife.”
UFC bantamweight star “Suga” Sean O’Malley tweeted, “Holy s***. Legend.”
UFC lightweight fighter Kevin Lee tweeted, “Congrats on the fight @TeamKhabib If that’s your career, it’s a shame u didn’t get to fight someone coming forward and isn’t afraid to wrestle. Congrats I’ll be here when u return.”
Former Bellator lightweight champ and new UFC signing Michael Chandler tweeted, “I think the craziest thing was that we all expect, and somewhat took for granted that Khabib would retire at 30-0…seemed like a clean number, especially with a potential GSP tussle in talks. Threw us all for a loop. Respect to the lightweight GOAT.”
Middleweight Darren Till wrote, “Getting emotional watching this. Wow. Khabib respecting his mother and following through with his word. What a man. Deffo a top 5 goat of MMA. Happy retirement.”
Welterweight fighter Leon Edwards tweeted, “@TeamKhabib, Congratulations on an outstanding performance and career. Your father would be extremely proud. P4P (king).”
Former lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez wrote, “Wow incredible story and career @TeamKhabib. You are something special my man.”
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UFC 254 Fight Card & Results
See the results of October 24’s UFC 254:
Lightweight Bout: Khabib Nurmagomedov def. Justin Gaethje via Second-Round Triangle Choke
Middleweight Bout: Robert Whittaker def. Jared Cannonier via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Heavyweight Bout: Alexander Volkov def. Walt Harris via Second-Round TKO
Middleweight Bout: Phil Hawes def. Jacob Malkoun via First-Round KO
Women’s Flyweight Bout: Lauren Murphy def. Liliya Shakirova via Second-Round Rear-Naked Choke
Light Heavyweight Bout: Magomed Ankalaev def. Ion Cuțelaba via First-Round KO
Heavyweight Bout: Tai Tuivasa def. Stefan Struve via First-Round KO
140-Pound Catchweight Bout: Casey Kenney def. Nathaniel Wood via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
173-Pound Catchweight Bout: Shavkat Rakhmonov def. Alex Oliveira via First-Round Guillotine Choke
Light Heavyweight Bout: Da Un Jung vs. Sam Alvey Determined a Draw (29-28, 28-29, 28-28)
Early Preliminary Card
Women’s Flyweight Bout: Miranda Maverick def. Liana Jojua via First-Round TKO
159.5-Pound Catchweight Bout: Joel Álvarez def. Alexander Yakovlev via First-Round Armbar