There have been plenty of big names in lightweight MMA history, from Khabib Nurmagomedov to Eddie Alvarez to Conor McGregor, but Anthony Pettis believes there’s one name that stands above all others in the division.
“Got to go [with] B.J. Penn,” Pettis replied when asked who he thinks the lightweight GOAT was in an interview with Low Kick MMA. “I mean, B.J. Penn is one of the pioneers of the whole thing. Without B.J., none of this would even be possible.”
Penn, who was also a UFC welterweight champion, was a dominant lightweight fighter in his prime, with big wins over Kenny Florian, Diego Sanchez, Matt Hughes and very close contests with whom many consider to be the UFC GOAT, Georges St-Pierre.
“Ben Henderson’s in my top five, as well. You’ve got to go with Khabib (Nurmagomedov). He’s definitely on there – a dominant guy, never lost. Dustin Poirier is another guy that’s on my top-five list, and then I would take myself.”
When asked about current UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev, Pettis replied, “He still has some work to do. He just beat (Alexander) Volkanovski, and Volkanovski is an amazing fighter – but he’s not a lightweight. He doesn’t have any wins against a top-10 lightweight, so I think once he can prove himself – he’s a tremendous fighter, but he still has some work to do.
“That’s the hard thing. Once you get to the top, things change. You’ve got sponsors pulling you, you’ve got events, you’ve got promotions, you’ve got a lot of other options besides training. … Seeing how he can balance that and see when he fights and how dominant he is, that’s when we’ll see how great he can be.”
Do you agree with how Anthony Pettis thinks BJ Penn is the lightweight GOAT? At the very least, do you agree that BJ Penn is a pioneer in MMA and particularly the lightweight division? Let us know in the comments.