Greatest of all-time discussions in MMA inevitably lead to disagreements, especially when talking about the weight classes where there are multiple people vying for that title. Take lightweight, for instance. The 155-pound weight class in the UFC has never had a champion with more than three title defenses and there are four different champions who have three. This has led to an ongoing debate over who is truly the greatest lightweight of all time, and while many believe that Khabib Nurmagomedov, the man who retired as champion last year, has finally wrested control of the GOAT title, one of the other former champions disagrees.
B.J. Penn is a UFC Hall of Famer who won the UFC lightweight title back in 2008 at UFC 80 and reigned over the division for next two years, amassing three successful title defenses. Prior to winning the lightweight title though, Penn was also a former UFC welterweight champion and had spent years outside of the company testing himself against some of the best fighters in the world, regardless of weight class, most notably facing a young Lyoto Machida in an openweight bout in 2005. And it’s this willingness to compete well above his weight class that Penn believes cements his status in the lightweight division and hurts Khabib’s.
Since Khabib has been saying he is the greatest lightweight of all time and I am number 2 best lightweight many people have been asking me why didn’t Khabib fight Usman for the 170 pound belt or compete for 170 belt like I did many times… in my humble opinion it is because he is not proficient and confident in jiujitsu
I believe the reason behind Khabib not fighting Usman is because he does not know jiujitsu like I did and he is not comfortable fighting off his back against someone who is bigger and stronger than him like I did many many times in my career.I fought at 170 185 and heavyweight and every fight I had to fight from my back and survive and come back and fight harder if I was to get a victory.
It’s because of my jiujitsu black belt experience and fighting in my weight and absolute division for years that always prepared me for this…Gracie jiujitsu and Brazilian jiu-jitsu alone is not enough to be UFC champion but to choose one system BJJ is still the greatest self defense system in the world especially for the little man to fight the big man.
It was just part of the game…Khabib says jiujitsu is easy and he is the best grappler ever but he did not fight bigger opponents in higher weight classes because his style is not prepared for this …and that’s what jiujitsu was created for.. for the little man to defend himself from the big man! That is martial arts, that is self defense !!
Nurmagomedov once famously wore a shirt that read “If sambo were easy, it would be called jiu-jitsu” during a UFC weigh-in which what Penn is referencing, and as an enormous lightweight, one of the few critiques that can be made about Nurmagomedov is his disinterest in moving up to welterweight to fight for a second title. That has led some fans to suggest that Nurmagomedov did not want to risk his undefeated record by fighting against men he didn’t have physical advantages over but for Nurmagomedov, he simply said that he wasn’t interested in fighting at welterweight because he was not a welterweight. Ultimately, that decision worked out for Nurmagomedov as he retired from the sport last year with a perfect 29-0 record and as one of the few champions to walk away while still holding the title.