Khabib Nurmagomedov is widely considered the greatest UFC lightweight champion of all time, but not everyone sees it that way.
Anthony Pettis, for one, would like to remind everyone that Nurmagomedov won the lightweight championship by beating Al Iaquinta, who wasn’t even ranked in the top ten when they fought at UFC 223.
Not only that, but Khabib only defended his title three times albeit against elite-level competition, beating Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier, and Justin Gaethje via submission.
Pettis, a former UFC lightweight champion who now competes in the PFL, acknowledges Khabib is one of the greatest of all time but not the greatest. That title should have been awarded to BJ Penn had ‘The Prodigy’ not lost his belt to Frankie Edgar in 2010, according to ‘Showtime’.
“You know, I think – I moved down to ’45, I fought at ’70 – I fought all over the place,” Pettis told LowKick MMA in a recent interview. “It’s hard to say Khabib (Nurmagomedov) 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,” Pettis added. “He’s definitely one of the best. But like, guys like BJ Penn, you know – like that’s a guy for me that, you know, if he wouldn’t have come back and lost a couple of fights, we all would be talking about BJ as the GOAT, you know , one of the first.”
Nurmagomedov was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame last month, almost two years after his retirement. The undefeated Dagestani retired with a perfect 29-0 record and now serves as a coach for Islam Makhachev and Umar Nurmagomedov, both of whom compete in the UFC.