Khabib's coach reveals even he did NOT know UFC icon was going to retire after Gaethje win as legend returns to Dagestan
KHABIB NURMAGOMEDOV'S coach Javier Mendez had no idea the UFC legend was going to retire after he beat Justin Gaethje.
The shock admission came as the 29-0 Russian star landed back in Dagestan.
Khabib won via submission in the second round of Saturday's headline event at UFC 254.
And after the victory, the 32-year-old broke down in tears and announced his retirement from the sport.
But this came as a shock to trainer Mendez, who helped prepare the unbeaten champion for his final fight.
He told Submission Radio: "I learned about it while he was giving the speech
"My jaw dropped. I went, 'What?' I mean, he plays the best poker face on the planet."
Khabib touched back down in his homeland earlier today accompanied by his entourage and champions belt.
Images show the superstar disembarking the plane before posing for pictures alongside his team.
Many UFC aficionados thought Khabib would fight once more to go 30-0.
There had been talk of him fighting George St-Pierre or possibly re-matching Conor McGregor.
And even Mendez admitted he would have liked his man to fight on once more.
He added: "As much as the fans – and even myself as a coach, I would love to have him back … I think he's done.
"You're not going to get me trying to convince him otherwise. If anything, I'll say, 'Hey, you said you're retired, stay retired'."
Moments after Gathje tapped out on Fight Island, Khabib paid tribute to his late father Abdulmanap who died in July after health complications caused by coronavirus.
Still in the octagon, he said: "Thank you for these guys, these guys with me, they've been with my father for more than ten years.
"All my team, AKA with coach Javier, I love him so much, all my team.
'Today, I want to say, this was my last fight.
"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 talked with my mother for 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.
"I know only one thing I want from UFC, you guys have to put me on No1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, because I deserve this.
"UFC undisputed, undefeated lightweight champion, 13-0, 13 in UFC, 29 in all pro MMA career. I think I deserve it."
Earlier today, Khabib revealed the full extent of a broken foot he sustained just 16 days before the Gaethje fight.
He posted a picture of an X-ray with a broken toe and another snap of his swollen foot, with them dated October 7 and 8 respectively.
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