Khabib Nurmagomedov, who announced his retirement from mixed martial arts after defending his UFC lightweight title in October, has scooped the BBC Sports Personality’s World Sport Star of the Year award.
The Russian extended his perfect professional MMA record to 29-0 by beating Justin Gaethje, months after the death of his father, coach and mentor Abdulmanap following complications arising from coronavirus in July.
Moments after defeating Gaethje with a triangle choke submission, Nurmagomedov symbolically placed his gloves on to the cage mat and said: ‘It was my last fight. There’s no way I’m going to come here (again) without my father.’
The UFC lightweight champion fought just months after the death of his father, coach and mentor Abdulmanap.
Considered by some to be the greatest mixed martial arts fighter of all time, he retired straight after his victory.
Nurmagomedov’s 29-0 record in MMA included 13 straight victories under the UFC banner.
He successfully defended his lightweight title on three occasions, and was seen as one of the most dominant athletes in MMA history.
Topping an online public vote, Nurmagomedov beat off competition from Swedish pole vaulter Armand Duplantis, American basketball great LeBron James, American golfer Dustin Johnson, French footballer Wendie Renard, and Irish boxer Katie Taylor.
Last year’s winner was marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge, who won the London Marathon for a fourth time and became the first person to run a marathon in under two hours in October 2019.