Georges St-Pierre surprised, wishes Khabib Nurmagomedov well after ‘perfect career’

Many viewers were caught off-guard when UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov took off his gloves and placed them in the center of the cage Saturday after defeating Justin Gaethje at UFC 254.



Georges St-Pierre smiling for the camera: georges-st-pierre-retirement-news-conference-ap


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georges-st-pierre-retirement-news-conference-ap

Among them was former UFC welterweight champion and UFC middleweight champion, Georges St-Pierre, who was watching closely as part of the UFC’s French broadcast team.

“I was surprised,” St-Pierre told ESPN moments after the fight. “I was not expecting that at all. … I thought he wanted to do, and all the people in the media said he wanted to do 30-0. That’s his choice. What a great way to finish a career. He left an incredible legacy. One of the best to have ever done it – maybe the best to have ever done it.”

Nurmagomedov (29-0 MMA, 13-0 UFC) and St-Pierre have been long linked to a potential super fight with both fighters expressing varying levels of interest these past few years.

Thirty was dubbed by many as the “magic number” for Nurmagomedov’s career. An idea floated in recent weeks held that the Russian champion, should he beat Gaethje to reach 29-0, would fight St-Pierre to try to reach the 30-0 milestone.

St-Pierre was interviewed by various outlets in the lead-up to UFC 254 and had become a side narrative of the fight’s buildup. Despite admitting he would’ve considered ending his own retirement, St-Pierre is happy that Nurmagomedov made the decision that was best for him.

“It did not happen,” St-Pierre said. “I’m good where I am. Khabib is invincible now. He’s undefeated. It was a perfect career. There’s nothing we can say bad about him. It’s a perfect career, like 29-0 and you retire on top with the best performance of his career. What do you want more? It was incredible. It was a perfect fight in a perfect career – as close as it gets.

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“… I always see an athlete taking too many fights. … That’s something I really don’t wish (on) someone. Khabib did an amazing decision (to retire). Like everything in life, everything has a beginning and has an end. The life of a professional athlete, even an elite athlete, has a window. If we fight past that window, that’s when the problems arrive and appear.”

When asked what message he had for Nurmagomedov, a fighter whom he falls alongside on a short list of UFC champions with minimal-to-no blemishes on their record, St-Pierre gave a heartfelt response.

“Khabib, follow your heart,” St-Pierre said. “Follow what makes you happy and what makes people who love (you) happy. No pressure. Take the right decision at the right time, and the possibilities for you are limitless. You can do whatever you want. Congratulations. What an amazing career. Man, it was a perfect fight and a perfect career that you have.”

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Mixed Martial Arts: Dominant Khabib calls time on undefeated MMA career

FILE PHOTO: MMA – UFC 242 – Khabib Nurmagomedov v Dustin Poirier – Men’s UFC Lightweight title – Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – September 7, 2019 Khabib Nurmagomedov reacts after winning his match against Dustin Poirier REUTERS/Christopher Pike/File Photo

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Khabib Nurmagomedov called time on his mixed martial arts career following a second-round submission win over Justin Gaethje on Saturday, leaving 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.

Many questioned if he would have the heart for the fight against Gaethje following the death of his father Abdulmanap in July from complications caused by COVID-19 at the age of 57.

His father 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.

“I talked to my mother three days (ago). She didn’t want me to go fight without (my) father, but I promised her it’s going to be my last fight, and if I give my word, I have to follow this,” an emotional Khabib said in the octagon.

“It was my last fight. I know only one thing I want from the UFC – you guys have to put me number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world, because I deserve this.”

After a stunning run of 13 wins in eight years and a professional record featuring eight knockouts and 11 submission wins in his 29 victories, few would argue with the 32-year-old who has now left the cage for the last time.

Reporting by Philip O’Connor; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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Dominant Khabib calls time on undefeated MMA career

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Khabib Nurmagomedov called time on his mixed martial arts career following a second-round submission win over Justin Gaethje on Saturday, leaving his gloves in the centre of the octagon to fulfil a promise to his mother.



FILE PHOTO: UFC 242 - Khabib Nurmagomedov v Dustin Poirier - Men's UFC lightweight title


© Reuters/Christopher Pike
FILE PHOTO: UFC 242 – Khabib Nurmagomedov v Dustin Poirier – Men’s UFC lightweight title

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.

Many questioned if he would have the heart for the fight against Gaethje following the death of his father Abdulmanap in July from complications caused by COVID-19 at the age of 57.

His father 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.

“I talked to my mother three days (ago). She didn’t want me to go fight without (my) father, but I promised her it’s going to be my last fight, and if I give my word, I have to follow this,” an emotional Khabib said in the octagon.

“It was my last fight. I know only one thing I want from the UFC – you guys have to put me number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world, because I deserve this.”

After a stunning run of 13 wins in eight years and a professional record featuring eight knockouts and 11 submission wins in his 29 victories, few would argue with the 32-year-old who has now left the cage for the last time.

(Reporting by Philip O’Connor; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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Khabib Nurmagomedov closes career with UFC 254 Performance Bonus

In the UFC’s final event of its second stint on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov put on a masterful performance in the final fight of his career.

The victory not only cemented Khabib’s legacy, it also earned him one of the UFC 254 performance bonuses.

Performance of the Night: Khabib Nurmagomedov

While most would have thought that Justin Gaethje would outgun Khabib on the feet, the champ used a stinging jab and sharp combinations to negate his foe’s power punches.

He also used his hands to set up his all-important takedowns, one of which cemented the fight.

Khabib took Gaethje down late in the first frame, but couldn’t find a finish before the clock wound down. In the second round, however, he again put Gaethje on the canvas, this time sinking a triangle choke that put the lights out.

It’s no surprise that, looking as good as he ever has in the Octagon, Khabib walked away with a $50,000 UFC 254 Performance of the Night bonus.

Khabib Nurmagomedov shoots on Justin Gaethje in UFC 254 Performance of the Night

Performance of the Night: Magomed Ankalaev

In a rematch that has seen the coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19 force several restarts, Magomed Ankalaev finally put a stamp on his rivalry with Ion Cutelaba.

Ankalaev won their first fight in February of this year, but the bout was considered controversial, as the referee stopped the fight when he felt Cutelaba was out on his feet. Cutelaba immediately protested, and the UFC quickly moved to rebook the fight.

Though it didn’t happen nearly as soon as originally planned, Ankalaev made sure to leave no doubts at UFC 254.

He laid Cutelaba out at 4:19 of the first round, leaving him flat on his back.

The victory earned Ankalaev the other UFC 254 Performance of the Night bonus.

Magomed Ankalaev punches Ion Cutelaba in UFC 254 Performance of the Night

Fight of the Night: Casey Kenney def. Nathaniel Wood

The UFC 254 Fight of the Night honors went to prelim competitors Casey Kenney and Nathaniel Wood. The two fight an exciting back and forth bout that went the distance with Kenney taking the unanimous nod from the judges.

Both fighters went home with an additional $50,000, however.

Casey Kenney cracks Nathaniel Wood in UFC 254 Fight of the Night

TRENDING > Khabib Nurmagomedov issues his first statement following UFC 254 victory and retirement

UFC 254: Khabib vs. Gaethje Performance Bonuses

  • Performance of the Night: Khabib Nurmagomedov
  • Performance of the Night: Magomed Ankalaev
  • Fight of the Night: Nathaniel Wood vs. Casey Kenney

Related Video > Fighters react to Khabib’s surprise UFC 254 retirement

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For the second time in Khabib Nurmagomedov’s career, he lost a round at UFC 254

Khabib Nurmagomedov defended his lightweight title on Saturday defeating Justin Gaethje by submission in the second round of the UFC 254 main event. His performance was quickly overshadowed when “The Eagle” announced his retirement.

The 32-year-old took off his gloves at Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island in Abu Dhabi and laid them in the Octagon. After 29 fights and 12 years of fighting, Nurmagomedov fought for the last time.

His dominance in the 155-pound division is difficult to put in perspective. In his entire career, Nurmagomdov never lost a bout and only lost two rounds. In 60 rounds of fighting, he only lost two rounds.

The first time Nurmagomedov was scored losing a round came in his UFC 229 title fight against Conor McGregor. He dominated the first and second rounds and finished McGregor in the fourth. In the third, judges Derek Cleary, Sal D’Amato, and Junichiro Kamijo scored McGregor winning the frame 10-9.

UFC 229: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor scorecard

The second time Nurmagomedov lost a round was on Saturday against Gaethje. Two of the three judges, Ben Cartlidge and Sal A’Mato, scored the first frame 10-9 for Gaethje, while judge Derek Cleary scored the round 10-9 for Nurmagomedov.

UFC 254: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje scorecard

TRENDING > Khabib Nurmagomedov issues his first statement following UFC 254 victory and retirement

Related Video > Fighters react to Khabib’s surprise UFC 254 retirement

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