Khabib Nurmagomedov may well be the consensus greatest lightweight of all time. He earned this distinction by steamrolling one opponent after another en route to a pristine 29-0 professional MMA record.
Two years ago after defeating Justin Gaethje at UFC 254, Khabib decided to retire from active competition. This decision was largely influenced by the untimely passing of his father and mentor, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov.
But it wasn’t this final victory that Khabib named as his favorite career moment, nor was it the night he won the lightweight championship at UFC 223 by defeating Al Iaquinta for the vacant title.
No, when asked backstage at the UFC Hall of Fame Ceremony what his favorite career moment was, “The Eagle” harkened back to one notorious evening.
“It was here, [T-Mobile Arena], October 6, 2018, biggest fight in MMA history. And I’m very happy I won this fight. I can lose any of my fights but no way this fight,” Khabib said.
Khabib is of course referring to his UFC 229 submission victory over Conor McGregor. As stated by the new Hall of Famer, this fight set records as the best-selling pay-per-view in UFC history, with well over two million PPV buys.
Khabib’s Glowing Performance Outshines The Darkness
Although Nurmagomedov’s victory over McGregor is no doubt satisfying for Khabib due to the grudge between the two superstars that exists to this day, it also doesn’t hurt that McGregor is a former double-champion who was once ranked within the top 3 pound-for-pound fighters in the world, which makes the Irishman arguably the biggest notch on Khabib’s résumé from a competition standpoint along with the general notoriety.
However, this night wasn’t all joy and roses for the Dagestani, as “The Eagle” also landed in his fair share of trouble on this night.
After submitting McGregor, Khabib infamously “Air Khabibed” into the audience at McGregor’s teammate, Dillon Danis, which offset the biggest post-fight brawl in UFC history. Khabib would be suspended and fined for his actions that night.
Additionally, Khabib has said that a large factor behind his impulsive actions was being unsatisfied with the fight itself. Khabib stated that he expected more of a struggle from McGregor, so when his appetite went unfulfilled, he decided to look for more scraps in the capacity crowd.
Nevertheless, now that four years has passed and he’s had enough time to reflect, it seems The Eagle of Dagestan can look back on this night with nothing but fondness at the memory of choking out his biggest nemesis on the biggest stage the sport has ever beheld.
What do YOU think is the best moment of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s legendary career??