Updated: October 25, 2020 6:24:02 pm
Khabib Nurmagomedov, who appeared in his first fight following the death of his father Abdulmanap in July from complications caused by COVID-19, paid an emotional tribute urging his opponent Justin Gaethje to stay close to his parents.
Khabib’s father, who passed away at the age of 57, had schooled him in combat sports from an early age and was in his corner in Abu Dhabi in September 2019 when Khabib choked out Dustin Poirier, on that occasion using a rear naked choke in another successful title defence.
The undefeated Russian called time on his mixed martial arts career following a second-round submission win over Gaethje on Saturday, saying, “Thank you so much Justin. In 2016 I remember, when I cut weight, you helped me a lot. Thank you brother. I know you’re a great man and I know how you take care of your close people. I know lots of things about you.”
“Be close to your parents because one day it’s going to happen. You never know what’s going to happen tomorrow, you never know,” he added.
— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) October 24, 2020
Khabib left his gloves in the centre of the octagon to fulfil a promise to his mother. He wore down his opponent with his constant forward pressure before mounting Gaethje and locking him in a triangle choke that rendered the American unconscious to extend his record to 29 wins and no defeats.
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