Capping off a stunning professional mixed martial arts career, Khabib ‘The Eagle’ Nurmagomedov had reportedly suffered a broken foot three-weeks before tonight’s lightweight title unification win over Justin ‘The Highlight’ Gaethje – according to UFC president, Dana White.

Calling time on his perfect twenty-nine fight career following his excellent second-round triangle win over Gaethje, Khabib announced his decision to retire from professional mixed martial, after making a promise to his mother. Following the untimely passing of his father and renowned Sambo coach, Abdulmanap earlier this year due to complications due to COVID-19 – Khabib had faced a tough trail to get to the Octagon tonight. 

Forcing the usual forward pressing Gaethje to fight off the fence which would eventually prove detrimental, Khabib ate a number of significant inside and outside leg kicks from the Elevation Fight Team mainstay for his troubles. Heading back to his corner and Trevor Wittman after the opening buzzer, Wittman put emphasis on more leg kicks, detailing how eight more would render Khabib’s mobility useless.

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Starting the second-round with a notable breath in – Gaethje gave up his back in a scramble, with Khabib threatening with a mounted triangle. Eventually reverting to an armbar and then a triangle from guard – Khabib choked Gaethje unconscious, despite a couple of taps from the Arizonian.

An emotional Khabib fell to his knees in the centre of the Octagon as he celebrated with his corner, before announcing his decision to hang up his gloves during his post-fight interview with UFC commentator, Jon Anik.

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Speaking with media at the post-fight press conference, White detailed how Khabib had suffered a break to two of his toes, and a bone in his foot prior to tonight’s Octagon walk.

“”Listen, man, what he’s (Khabib Nurmagomedov‘s) been through, we’re all lucky we got to see him fight tonight,” White said. “And I’m hearing rumours of other things that I didn’t know about, that you guys will hear about when he comes out later I’m sure.

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Apparently, he was in the hospital – he broke his foot. Three weeks ago. So he has two broken toes and a bone in his foot that’s broken, or something like that. That’s what his corner was telling me. And never told anybody – [was] walking around, I mean, he is one of the toughest human beings on the planet and he is just – he’s the number-one pound-for-pound fighter in the world. And seriously, you have to start putting him up there at G.O.A.T. status, whoever else you think is the G.O.A.T.

Aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Follow along at @Ross_Markey on Twitter for all the latest news, fight announcements, opinion, and feature pieces.