Khabib Nurmagomedov isn't the lightweight GOAT, says former UFC champion

  • Tom Ward

Khabib Nurmagomedov cannot be considered the lightweight GOAT because ‘he didn’t fight everybody’, according to former UFC champion Anthony Pettis.

Nurmagomedov, 32, retired as a MMA fighter in 2020 after beating Justin Gaethje at UFC 264.

His unbeaten record stands at 29-0 and with the former pound-for-pound king’s retirement he is no longer at risk of losing the hallowed 0.

But when asked for his honest on the Dagestani wrestler, Pettis isn’t sold on the idea that Nurmagomedov is the greatest of all time.

Pettis told LowKick MMA: “You know, I think – I moved down to 145, I fought at 170 – I fought all over the place.

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“It’s hard to say Khabib because he didn’t fight everybody. He won the world title fighting Al Iaquinta. Al Iaquinta wasn’t even ranked at the time, so, you know.

“And then he fought some good guys after that and then he retired, so it’s hard to say he’s the GOAT. He’s definitely one of the best.

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“But like, guys like B.J. Penn, you know – like that’s a guy for me that, you know, if he wouldn’t have came back and lost a couple of fights, we all would be talking about B.J. as the GOAT, you know, one of the first.”

Neither, as it transpires, is Joe Lauzon.

Like Pettis, Lauzon, or ‘J-Lau’ as he is otherwise known, doesn’t think Nurmagomedov is the best of the lot.

Instead, that honour falls to UFC Hall of Famer, B.J. Penn.

Speaking to talkSPORT, he said: “B.J. Penn. Always, always, always. I think B.J. is the best.

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“I understand Khabib did great and he was undefeated, but to me, it’s just B.J.

“He was the first guy with amazing ju-jitsu, good offensive and defensive wrestling, great striking – could crack with both hands – and he’s running for governor right now which is kind of nice [laughs]. It might sound crazy but I think he’s got a shot at winning too.

“BJ was my coach on The Ultimate Fighter. I went down and trained with him for six months on and off back in 2007. We were running around with Penn for governor shirts on and I thought it was this big joke! Now here we are in 2022 and he’s actually doing it – bananas.

“I think BJ is the GOAT. Khabib was a huge lightweight. He cut down and he pulled out of a lot of fights because he couldn’t make weight and things like that. 

“So I understand it’s a perfect record, but there’s also some things where he didn’t show up when he was planning to show up. 

“BJ on the other hand, he fought Lyoto Machida at heavyweight. How insane is that? He beat Matt Hughes and won the welterweight title. He fought GSP a couple of times. 

“He definitely has had his fair share of bad stuff that has happened after the fact, but as far if we’re talking lightweight GOATS, I think it’s BJ Penn and no one else.”

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