Khabib Nurmagomedov's victory over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 and his subsequent announcement of his retirement caused a strong reaction around the world.
Both colleagues and representatives of other sports expressed their admiration and gratitude for his triumphant career.
At a press conference following the tournament, UFC President Dana White admired Nurmagomedov's character, who won, despite the fact that he seemed not in the best shape.
“Well, it's a night.
He is the toughest guy on the planet ... His pressure is incredible, he literally did not give a damn about Gaji's punching power, fired through all the punches, did everything he wanted ... Then he continued to push and honey agarics came out on pain.
Closed and strangled the opponent.
By the way, Khabib still hasn't lost a single round.
You know, everything seemed to be heading towards an upset, given how the Russian reacted to the weigh-in, how he held himself when he went out to the fight.
It was as if he was not himself, he was breathing heavily, "White shared his impressions.
He added that he has not yet communicated with Nurmagomedov about the end of his career.
In addition, the promoter spoke about the difficulties that the fighter had to face while preparing for the meeting.
“After what Khabib went through, we were very lucky to see him fight.
By the way, there are rumors about which I did not know that three weeks ago he was admitted to the hospital with a fractured foot.
He did not tell anyone about this.
Therefore, Nurmagomedov is one of the toughest guys, the best pound-for-pound fighter.
It's time to seriously think about the fact that he is the greatest fighter in history, as he is not inferior to the rest of the candidates, ”concluded White.
At the moment, the first place in the ranking of the best fighters, regardless of the weight category, is occupied by the representative of the light heavy division John Jones.
“I would like to congratulate Khabib on an outstanding career.
I know today he gave his father and millions of fans a reason to be very proud of him.
May God continue to favor him on his way, ”Jones said.
The triumph of the Russian was also appreciated in the team of his most fundamental rival, Conor McGregor.
Coach John Kavanagh expressed confidence that his father would be proud of him.
And the Irishman himself dedicated a discreet post to Nurmagomedov.
“Good performance, Khabib.
I will continue.
Once again, I express my respect and condolences to you and your family in the light of what happened to your father.
Regards, McGregor, ”wrote the former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion.
Many assumed that Nurmagomedov would bring the score of his victories to 30, and his last rival would be one of the best fighters of the promotion, Georges Saint-Pierre.
The Canadian admitted that he was surprised by the decision of the Russian, but at the same time, he was sympathetic to his choice.
In his opinion, Nurmagomedov left behind a magnificent legacy.
“An ideal fight in an ideal career ... I see every now and then how athletes take on many fights ... This is what I would not wish anyone.
Khabib made a wonderful decision.
Everything in life has a beginning and an end.
There is a certain period in the life of a professional athlete - even at the elite level.
When this period expires, and you still continue to engage in fights, then problems begin, "- quotes Saint-Pierre MMAJunkie.
Another former opponent of Khabib, Dustin Poirier, who called him invincible, did not stay away from what happened.
Heavyweight belt holder Stipe Miocic wished Nurmagomedov to enjoy a well-deserved retirement, and featherweight champion Alex Volkanovski noted that Nurmagomedov earned the first line in the pound-for-pound ranking.
“He's definitely the best fighter in any weight class.
Congratulations on a great career, ”wrote Volkanovski.
The triumph of Nurmagomedov and his retirement from the sport left no one indifferent.
English fighter Darren Till admitted that he emotionally reacted to the statement of the fighter, who promised his mother not to return to the octagon.
“I got emotional when watching.
Khabib shows respect for his mother and keeps his word.
This is a man.
He is definitely one of the five best MMA fighters.
I wish you happiness after your career ends, ”Till wrote.
Former UFC light and heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier also approached Khabib.
Both athletes represent the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) and are close friends.
“Congratulations to the greatest champion in UFC history.
This is a career!
We are forever grateful to you for the time that we managed to spend with you, brother.
29-0 is undefeated and undeniable, ”said Cormier.
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Post by Daniel "DC" Cormier (@dc_mma) Oct 24, 2020 2:09 am PDT
There were also those who reacted to Nurmagomedov's statement about retirement with skepticism, given that fighters often make loud statements to stir up interest in themselves and future fights.
However, the former MMA fighter, and now the deputy of the Krasnogorsk city district of the Moscow region, Jeff Monson is sure that the Russian will keep his word.
“I'm not surprised by Khabib's victory, but I'm surprised that this happened in the second round.
He assumed that the fight would last until the end and the winner would be determined by the judges.
Gaji is a very strong fighter, but Khabib has proven that he is truly the best in the world.
Some fighters announce their retirement, and then come back for money, accept any offers.
This is not the case of Khabib, he promised his mother that he would finish.
He is the best in his division, has never lost, what else does he need to do?
Khabib has already achieved everything ”, - quotes Monson“ Sport-Express ”.
Nurmagomedov is one of the most popular athletes in the world and is respected outside of MMA.
So, the world champion in boxing in eight weight categories Manny Pacquiao reacted to his victory.
“Congratulations to the greatest fighter of all time on a great victory and a great career.
It was with great pleasure that I watched your performances at the competitions.
- wrote Pacquiao.
Interestingly, the American media have compared Nurmagomedov to Michael Jordan.
It is not only the greatness of both athletes, but also the fact that in 1996 the basketball player became the NBA champion in the Chicago Red Bulls after the death of his father.
Then Jordan also could not contain his emotions and cried after the finale.
The great ones overcame adversity to achieve glory.
(via @arielhelwani) pic.twitter.com/j7cU9aW9wn
- SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 25, 2020
In addition, famous MMA commentator Joe Rogan, basketball player of Utah Jazz Rudy Gober, Canadian wrestler Sami Zane, as well as Juventus striker Cristiano Ronaldo, who has friendly relations with the fighter, admired Nurmagomedov's achievement.
Your father is proud of you, ”said the footballer.
And the ex-England striker Daniel Sturridge first wrote that Khabib had a couple of victories to win the title of the greatest fighter, and then joked that he was in a hurry with the previous post.
“Damn, the previous post is horribly out of date.
I wish you happiness after completing your career!
I wish you all the best for the future, legend, "Sturridge wrote.
The manager of Nurmagomedov and Gatji Ali Abdel-Aziz also made an emotional statement.
He thanked the organizers of the fight and the teams of both fighters and noted the importance of their confrontation.
“Today's fight was about much more than winning or losing.
The two athletes have lived up to their legacy and may have changed someone's life.
The two have shown the world that they can compete in one of the most brutal sports at the highest level and still show respect for each other.
You simply cannot find a more worthy pair of fighters for a fight in the octagon ... Khabib changed the lives of many people for the better.
And everyone would like to have a son like you, Justin, ”Abdel-Aziz is sure.
At the moment, Nurmagomedov has not officially commented on his plans for the future.
However, his mentor Javier Mendes hinted that the UFC champion will follow in his father's footsteps.
“Farewell to the greatest fighter of all time and a new beginning for the future great coach who will work with me to prepare future champions,” Mendes said on Instagram.