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.”
It was later revealed Nurmagomedov had broken his foot three weeks before his win, which elevated to him to the top of the UFC’s pound-for-pound rankings.
The 32-year-old has come out on top of a public vote on the BBC Sport website, seeing off pole-vaulter Armand Duplantis, basketball’s LeBron James, golfer Dustin Johnson, footballer Wendie Renard and boxer Katie Taylor.
Marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge received last year’s award. The Kenyan became the first person to run a marathon in less than two hours in October 2019, six months after he won the London Marathon for the fourth time.