Khabib Nurmagomedov asked if he will retire at 30-0
UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is 28-0, and has lost just one round since entering the league in 2012. He fights interim champ Justin Geathje in the main event of UFC 254 on Saturday, and has said repeatedly he’s near the end of his career.
One scenario he has described is unifying the belts, fighting GSP, and then retiring with a perfect 30-0 record. But the goal of retiring undefeated in combat sports is enormously elusive. The bar was set by Rocky Marciano who retired with a record of 49-0 in 1955. Countless champions got close, but so many failed that the number appeared cursed. Then Floyd Mayweather Jr. broke the curse and record by boxing someone who had no chance to win – former UFC champ champ Conor McGregor.
Records in boxing tend to be far longer than those in MMA. Travis Fulton had over 300 MMA fights, Shannon Rich is number 2 with over 150, and by the time you get to #10, the number of fights is under 90. By contrast, boxer Kristian Laight has 279 defeats alone. Sugar Ray Robinson fought over 200 times. Leicester, England’s Len Wickwar boxed 470 times, beginning in 1928. Butterbean boxed professionally 91 times, had 61 Toughman contests, kickboxed 7 times, and had 28 MMA fights. So no one in MMA is going 50-0, ever.
Thus 30-0 is roughly the equivalent of Mayweather’s 50-0; during a recent interview with Kevin Iole for Yahoo Sports, Nurmagomedov was asked if it’s 30-0 and that’s it.
“Honestly, I don’t know,” replied Khabib. “30-0 is going to be great. It’s looking good, it sounds good. 0-0, okay. It’s going to be a great record, this is like Mayweather in MMA. We’ll see, I’m very close to it.”
“Who knows? Okay, I finish Justin Gaethje, I finish one more guy, I dominate him — I think my name is going to be always in history. I think already my name is going to be in history because two years ago what happened [vs. McGregor] is never going to be forgotten. Even after 50 years, people are going to watch this fight and be impressed. This is like when Muhammad Ali fought Frazier in Manila. People never forget this fight.
“I’m already in history but I need legacy. For legacy, Justin Gaethje is a great opponent right now.”
Abhinav Kini for The Body Lock MMA