Former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is the latest former champion to make his way to the promotion’s Hall of Fame.
During Saturday’s UFC 272 broadcast, Nurmagomedov (29-0) was announced as an inductee in the Hall’s Modern Wing. The Induction Ceremony for the UFC Hall of Fame Class of 2022 is expected to take place during International Fight Week this July.
“Khabib is one of the greatest athletes to ever compete in professional sports,” UFC President Dana White said in a press release distributed in conjunction with Saturday’s announcement. “No one dominated their opponents that way Khabib did, and to retire undefeated, as lightweight champion and the #1 pound-for-pound athlete in the world is an incredible accomplishment. It will be an honor to induct him into the UFC Hall of Fame this summer.”
Nurmagomedov is one of the few mixed martial arts champions to claim gold in a major promotion, and end their career undefeated. “The Eagle” entered the UFC in January of 2012, and immediately made an impact with a submission win over Kamal Shalorus.
From there, the Dagestani fighter went on a tear in the lightweight division, defeating names like Thiago Tavares, Rafael dos Anjos, Edson Barboza, and Michael Johnson on his path to the title. At UFC 223 in 2018, he would finally claim the vacant lightweight title, which had previously been held by Conor McGregor.
That event also saw bad blood between Nurmagomedov and McGregor boil over, after an altercation between Khabib’s entourage and McGregor teammate Artem Lobov led to McGregor and his crew storming a parking garage at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center during media day, attacking a bus with Nurmagomedov inside.
After suspensions and legal issues were resolved, the pair would face off at UFC 229, with Nurmagomedov submitting McGregor — then jumping out of the octagon to attack McGregor teammate Dillon Danis, sparking a melee in the process. The end result was a nine-month suspension and half a million dollars in fines for Nurmagomedov.
He would return the following year, defeating interim champ Dustin Poirier in September of 2020— another submission win. But by the end of the year, COVID-19 had hit. Over the summer of 2020, Khabib would lose father Abdulmanap to the disease, and retired following his final title defense, against Justin Gaethje.
In all, Nurmagomedov exited the promotion with 13 wins, and just a wee bit of unfinished business — mainly, a super-fight with Georges St. Pierre that never came through, and the frankly cursed match-up with lightweight contender Tony Ferguson, which fell through on multiple occasions. Yet he retired as the #1 pound-for-pound fighter in the promotion, with no losses in his pro career.