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Why Khabib Nurmagomedov’s MMA GOAT status is premature

Conor McGregor, Khabib Nurmagomedov, UFC

While many of modern MMA fans are convinced that Khabib Nurmagomedov is the sport’s so-called “GOAT,” there seems to be some factors that make it refutable.

Without a doubt, Khabib Nurmagomedov’s undefeated record certainly presents a strong case to be hailed the greatest of all time.

Atop that, Nurmagomedov fought in an era where the media is already being used as a highly-efficient platform to boost fighters’ accomplishments, which, for the most part, was beneficial for a successful fighter like him.

In simpler terms, “hype,” though a very arguable matter, has already become some sort of a metric in determining who’s the greatest to ever step inside the octagon.

For UFC president Dana White and some MMA fans, Nurmagomedov has managed to catapult his name into the “GOAT” list despite only defending his title three times.

However, this is not how some of the former UFC champions see it, among them, was former UFC “champ-champ” BJ Penn.

It can be recalled that Nurmagomedov had earlier appointed Penn as the fighter who is right behind him in the lightweight GOAT list, something “The Prodigy” quickly shut down.

According to Penn, Nurmagomedov is not worthy of the GOAT status even in the lightweight because he “walked away too early.”

Moreover, the 42-year-old emphasized that there’s no way Nurmagomedov is getting the recognition as he was never up for the challenge of beating champions in the higher divisions.

“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,” Penn explained on Instagram. “I do believe [Khabib] walked away too early in that respect.

“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?,” he added. “The fighters today get fame and don’t want to lose.”

Former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who is a household name in the famed promotion, on the other hand, stressed that it’s “mind-blowing” how Nurmagomedov got the nod when he had way more victorious title defenses.

“I’ve won 15 world titles, [Nurmagomedov] he just won his 4th,” Jones said last year. “The fact that this is even a conversation is [mind] blowing to me.”

“I ask why should he just be handed a ‘GOAT’ status,” he questioned. “People tell me I should just let him have his moment. Unfortunately, his moment is associated with my life’s work.”