UFC Hall of Famer BJ Penn has implied that he believes Khabib was afraid to lose when he decided to walk away from the sport last year.
Khabib Nurmagomedov surprisingly left the sport of MMA behind after his successful UFC lightweight title defense via second-round submission over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254. His 13-fight run with the promotion saw him add Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier, Rafael Dos Anjos, and the aforementioned Justin Gaethje—alongside many more top contenders—to his list of victims.
The Russian is considered by many to be the greatest mixed martial arts athlete of all time, but despite the complete domination which helped him to a perfect 29-0 record, BJ Penn believes the 32-year-old was somewhat afraid to lose.
“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 unanimous decision over Iaquinta to win the lightweight belt. That’s 4 finishes me and 3 finishes him in title fights,” BJ stated. “These are just numbers not important to fighting. 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. I do believe Khabib walked away too early in that respect.”
“The Prodigy” continued in his analysis of Khabib’s career by implying that fighters of the modern era are afraid to lose.
“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 and won the belt from Matt Hughes. I cannot blame Khabib for not going up and fighting 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.”
Do you agree with BJ Penn’s comments on Khabib Nurmagomedov?