Some of UFC’s most prestigious athletes were recognized Thursday afternoon at the UFC Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
A part of UFC’s 10th annual International Fight Week, the ceremony was held at T-Mobile arena, with ticket proceeds benefitting The Knockout Cancer Foundation, established by UFC featherweight Giga Chikadze.
Chikadze was honored with the Forrest Griffin Community Award, for the meaningful impact he and his foundation, Knockout Cancer, has on the community. The award includes a $25,000 donation to a charity of Chikadze’s choice.
"I realized since I'm an athlete and a fighter, when my fights get more successful and my name gets bigger I know that I can spread awareness more."
"Once we get this donation, we're going to choose a couple of people, we're going to continue helping others. Every single time I fight, some of my fight purse, some percent goes there as well. We're not stopping, we're just starting."
"To be here, I know that my mom is blessing me and giving me all this positive energy."— UFC News (@UFCNews) July 1, 2022
Giga Chikadze (@Giga_Chikadze) was honored with the Forrest Griffin Community Award at the @UFC Hall of Fame for his charitable efforts.
[#UFCHOF | #UFCFightWeek] pic.twitter.com/lL3QnSdpUC
The first athlete to the stage, featherweight Cub Swanson, was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame Fight Wing for his epic bout against Dooho Choi that earned Fight of the Year in 2016. 11 years and 22 fights into his UFC career, Swanson extended his UFC contract after his Performance of the Night bout against Darren Elkins in December 2021, and is looking forward to creating more iconic moments in the Octagon.
Earning six Fight of the Night bonuses in his UFC career, Swanson is known for bringing the fight to his opponents and never taking a back step. A style he fell in love with from the beginning.
"I became a fan with certain fighters and their styles and who laid it all out on the line and who never took the safe route," Swanson said. "I always respected fighters like that so to make it in on a fight means more to me. It's like I did it my way, and after 18 years it's a nice little pat on the back."
"I can honestly say this means more to me than a belt. To get in on a fight just means more."— UFC News (@UFCNews) July 1, 2022
An appreciative @CubSwanson reflects on the impact his ongoing career has had ahead of his induction into the @UFC Hall of Fame, presented by @ToyoTires.
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The next fighter to be honored, and first to be inducted into UFC's 2022 Hall of Fame Modern Wing was former two-division champion and now UFC commentator Daniel Cormier. After earning titles at both light heavyweight and heavyweight, Cormier stamped his legacy as one of the best pound-for-pound fighter’s in the promotions history.
"Winning any UFC title is so hard," Cormier said. "To win one is an amazing accomplishment, to be a double champion is crazy."
Cormier emphasized how lucky he is to be in his position, offering words of advice for up-and-coming fighters who are looking to stamp their own legacy.
"Don't allow for the bad to cripple you. Allow for it to serve as motivation to do something even bigger and better. Because if you get dealt adversity, if something bad happens and you quit, you'll never know what you truly can be."
The last fighter to the stage was the former undefeated lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Amassing a perfect 29-0 record, Nurmagomedov defeated top contenders and former champions throughout his career. Before his bout with lightweight contender Justin Gaethje, Nurmagomedov tragically lost his father and life-long coach. Bearing with his loss, Nurmagomedov retired after that victory.
"I feel like I did a lot of things for this sport and I'm very happy for this," Nurmagomedov said.
"I can't imagine he can make his father any prouder and I'm sure that was his number one goal," Gaethje said. "He has nothing left to prove ... we all dream to do what he did: be perfect and get out while we still got it."
"I feel like I did a lot of things for this sport and I'm very happy for this."— UFC News (@UFCNews) July 1, 2022
Khabib Nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) talks about his incredible career and what it means for him to be inducted into the @UFC Hall of Fame 🔊⬆️
[#UFCHOF | Hall of Fame Presented by @ToyoTires] pic.twitter.com/MmLikqqZTo
Former teammates and now coaches at American Kickboxing Academy, Nurmagomedov and Cormier look to inspire the new wave of talent that are looking to follow in their footsteps.
"[AKA] for the last decade has been the home of champions and I'm glad that [Nurmagomedov] and I can once again go out there and represent our team in the way that we did so many times."