Nurmagomedov defended his lightweight championship for a third time on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi with a submission of Justin Gaethje in the second round of UFC 254. It was a fight against the man many believed to be his toughest challenge. The victory ran his record as a professional to 29-0.
Nurmagomedov's father died earlier in the year due to complications from COVID-19. An emotional champion announced after the fight that it would be his final trip to the Octagon.
"Today, I want to say, this was my last fight," Nurmagomedov said. "No way am I going to come here without my father. It was first time, after what happened with my father, when UFC called me about Justin. I talk with my mother three days, she don't want that I go fight without father. I promised her, it's going to be my last fight, and if I give my word, I have to follow this. It was my last fight here."