Dana White has seen countless legends come and go, but according to him the one that hurt the most was watching Khabib Nurmagomedov walk away from the sport.
It’s the story of the elusive 30-0 all over again. Once upon a time, Khabib Nurmagomedov wasn’t one of the greatest UFC fighters to ever live. Back when he was working his way up the UFC rankings, his father had a dream. He wished to see his boy go 30-0 in the most competitive and brutal sport known to man.
Of course, anybody aware of the story knows how the rest goes: Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov tragically passed away shortly before Khabib Nurmagomedov was set to face Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 to attempt to improve his record to 29-0. Abdulmanap passed on Friday, July 3rd, 2020.
Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov’s son went on to defeat Justin Gaethje via submission at UFC 254 just three months later, in the second round. After the fight, Khabib dropped a bombshell and told the world that he was done. He would not be pursuing the ever-elusive 30-0, and he would now honor his mother’s wishes, who wanted him to retire since achieving the 30-0 was a dream that Khabib and his father had shared simultaneously. Khabib’s mother believed it wouldn’t be right for him to achieve this milestone without his father present, and Khabib honored her wishes and has never competed again in the world of professional mixed martial arts.
Here enters: Dana White’s toughest retirement.
Dana White describes the pain of dealing with Khabib Nurmagomedov’s retirement
“The toughest retirement for me?” Dana White began, speaking in an interview. “Khabib was a tough (the toughest) retirement. Because usually when it’s time for them (the fighter) to retire, I’m happy for them to retire. It’s over, you’ve accomplished everything you could possibly accomplish, why keep doing it?”
I think Khabib had so much more to offer,” Dana White continued. “And, so much more to accomplish. But, I think when his dad passed away, he was done. Plus, he made so much money that he never has to do anything else.”