Khabib Nurmagomedov and his father Abdulmanap have been honored with a fantastic mural in their home republic of Dagestan.
After Abdulmanap passed away due to complications from COVID-19, many fans questioned what Khabib’s future in mixed martial arts was going to look like. He returned to face Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 and after securing a second round submission win, “The Eagle” decided to retire from the sport.
After BossLogic made a brilliant tribute that celebrated Khabib’s victory as well as his relationship with Abdulmanap, the artwork was turned into a mural in the city of Derbent.
— BossLogic (@Bosslogic) November 11, 2020
After some fans questioned Nurmagomedov’s decision, the man himself opened up about why he did it and what happened in the build-up to the Gaethje fight.
“The emotions in this fight were completely different,” Khabib said. “Everything was completely different without my father. I was offered the fight right after everything happened. I had the decision to accept it or turn it down, nobody knew about this, or retire, or I could come back, fight and then retire. Now I tell the people close to me that aren’t happy with me retiring that even if I fought 10 more times, I’d still have to face that decision. This decision could come up when I’m 32, 34, 35. It’s a hard decision because I’ve been fighting all my life. I’ve been on the mats for as long as I remember. It’s difficult to leave and do something else. People can’t understand it, but what can you do?”
“I have many supporters in not just Dagestan but all of Russia and around the world,” Khabib added. “I have a responsibility to them, that responsibility worried me. I had serious injuries. I was hospitalized for five days in mid-September. Then I came back and broke my toe. Those words about overcoming yourself are true. If a person doesn’t break psychologically, it will be hard to break them physically because the mind breaks before bones.
“Everything that happened to me psychologically before this fight gave me strength I can’t describe, inside and outside of the octagon, during my weight cut and preparation,” Khabib continued. “A big factor in that strength was the immense support of my fans. My father and I always used to meet fans when we arrived at the airport. This time we thought it would be best not to gather a lot of people. Given this chance, I’d like to thank them for the emotional support. Dagestan doesn’t always show the best image on TV and the internet, (so) I get a lot of motivation when my victories bring positivity to our people.”
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