KEY POINTS

  • BJ Penn isn’t convinced Khabib Nurmagomedov is the greatest lightweight fighter of all time
  • Penn shared his detailed thoughts on the lightweight GOAT conversation
  • The 42-year-old thinks “The Eagle” retired without even proving that he’s really the best

A UFC legend disagrees with Khabib Nurmagomedov’s GOAT claim.

Nurmagomedov has recently put BJ Penn behind him in the greatest lightweight fighter of all time talks, hailing the former UFC “champ-champ” as the second best lightweight in history.

It didn’t take long for Penn to refute Nurmagomedov’s opinion and provided his lengthy and seemingly sensible thoughts on the matter.

According to Penn, he doesn’t see Nurmagomedov as superior to all lightweights across all generations just because of his success in “title fights.” More importantly, “The Prodigy” stressed that appointing the GOAT by the number of fights won doesn’t make any sense.

“I enjoy watching [Khabib] fight, [but] I can not see Khabib saying he is #1 of lightweight of all time because that does not seem like his style,” Penn wrote on Instagram. “I will give my opinion on what I thought of Kabib’s career.” 

“Me, [Khabib] and Benson [Henderson] all had 3 title defenses. Me and [Khabib] had 3 finishes in the 3 title defenses. I did finish Joe Stevenson to win the UFC lightweight belt and [Khabib] won [via] unanimous decision over [Al] Iaquinta to win the lightweight belt. That’s 4 finishes [for] me and 3 finishes [for] him in title fights. these are just numbers not important to fighting,” he added. 

Penn, who last fought in the UFC in 2019, further pointed out that it is premature to conclude that Nurmagomedov has completely dominated his competition.

He then suggested that “The Eagle” should’ve also challenged champions in upper weight classes the same way he did during his prime.

“I do feel that it is the champions duty to the sport and fellow fighters to make sure the next world champion is the greatest world champion to step in the ring,” the 42-year-old emphasized. “I do believe [Khabib] walked away too early in that respect. There are fighters and sportsmen…All I ever wanted to do was fight, everyone… I was 25 and in my fighting prime when I went up to 170 pounds [welterweight] and won the belt from [beating] Matt Hughes.”

“I can not blame Khabib for not going up and fighting [UFC welterweight champion Kamaru] Usman for the belt and then sparking a greater conversation of who was the best of the two fighters who won the 170 and 155 belts? The fighters today get fame and don’t want to lose. I will fight anytime until the day I die…I went to Japan and Hawaii and fought in K-1 and Rumble on the rock at 170, 185 [middleweight], and heavyweight.”

“After years of fighting top fighters and champions I went back to the UFC and took the lightweight belt and the rest is MMA history,” he concluded. “I don’t know who is the GOAT lightweight I was just here to fight.”

Khabib Nurmagomedov Could Khabib Nurmagomedov be in line for a super fight next? In this picture, UFC lightweight champion Nurmagomedov of Russia raises his champions belt upon the arrival in Makhachkala on Oct. 8, 2018. Photo: VASILY MAXIMOV/AFP/Getty Images