In addition to the emotional anguish of losing his father earlier this year, Khabib Nurmagomedov dealt with some physical hardships heading into UFC 254.
The lightweight champion shared on social media an X-ray of a broke toe suffered on Oct. 7, a little more than two weeks before his headlining showdown with Justin Gaethje in Abu Dhabi. Despite that injury, Nurmagomedov was his usual dominant self in submitting Gaethje with a triangle choke 1:34 into Round 2 of their 155-pound title bout.
“What this guy has been through, we’re all lucky that we got to see him fight tonight,” UFC president Dana White said at the post-fight press conference. “Apparently he was in the hospital, he broke his foot. Three weeks ago. So he has two broken toes and a bone in his foot that’s broken, or something like that. That’s what his corner was telling me. Never told anybody. He is one of the toughest human beings on the planet. He is the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. Seriously, you have to start putting him up there with GOAT status with whoever else you think is the GOAT.”
Nurmagomedov announced his retirement immediately after the victory, exiting the sport with a 29-0 career mark. “The Eagle” emerged from this encounter with Gaethje relatively unscathed, as he received just a mandatory seven-day medical suspension after the bout.
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