The UFC lightweight division will officially crown a new champion in 2021. Dana White came out this evening and announced that lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0), is officially retiring at 29-0.
Back in October at UFC 254, Khabib announced his retirement after he defeated Justin Gaethje. However, Dana White has insisted that he believed Khabib was feeling the emotions of the moment and he thought he’d come back to try for 30-0.
For months, we’ve been in this weird limbo with the lightweight division. White continued to say that the UFC lightweight champion wasn’t officially retired and they held a number of meetings to talk about his future.
Finally, Dana White has thrown in the towel. Khabib Nurmagomedov is staying retired and the lightweight division will move on. The UFC president announced the news on his Twitter account that Khabib is going to retire at 29-0.
29-0 it is.
He is ? officially retired. It was incredible to watch you work @TeamKhabib thank you for EVERYTHING and enjoy whatever is next my friend. pic.twitter.com/QeoSP12zw2
— danawhite (@danawhite) March 19, 2021
Khabib’s UFC Legacy
In the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, it’s extremely rare to see someone retire undefeated. If you think about all of the greatest fighters to have ever fought in the UFC, nobody walked away with a perfect record.
Jon Jones is widely considered the greatest to ever do it. However, even Jones has a no contest and a DQ loss on his UFC record. Khabib Nurmagomedov has a clean 29-0 and nobody can say anything.
The UFC’s lightweight division has been the most exciting and dynamic division within the promotion over the last few years. Khabib has reigned supreme and he’s taken out all of the top challenges in dominating fashion.
Outside of Khabib, four men have held a piece of the UFC lightweight title since 2017. Those four men are Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier, Justin Gaethje, and Tony Ferguson. Khabib dominated and finished the first three men on that list.
The fight that we never got to see was Khabib against Tony Ferguson. The UFC booked that fight five times, but all five times it fell through. It truly wasn’t meant to be, but considering the direction their careers have gone, I believe most people think Khabib would have won that one too.
Simply put, Khabib is one of the greatest to ever make the walk inside the UFC. His dominance was something truly special to watch and it’s easy to see why Dana White so badly wanted him to fight again.
Khabib is keeping the promise he made to his mother after his father passed away from COVID last year. The UFC’s lightweight champion promised his mother that the Gaethje fight would be the final one and despite White’s best pitches, The Eagle is keeping his promise.