B.J. Penn has a hypothesis as to why retired Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight king Khabib Nurmagomedov never challenged UFC Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.
Penn is still battling the impression people have that he is the second-best UFC Lightweight in history. In a new Instagram post, the Hawaiian superstar described the advantage he had over Khabib in the 155-pound G.O.A.T debate.
“Since Khabib has been saying he is the greatest lightweight of all time and I am [the] number two 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,” Penn wrote on Wednesday. “In my humble opinion it is because he is not proficient and confident in jiu-jitsu.
“I believe the reason behind Khabib not fighting Usman is because he does not know jiu-jitsu 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,” he continued. “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.”
Penn says his jiu-jitsu skills are the difference makers.
“It’s because of my jiu-jitsu black belt experience and fighting in my weight and absolute division for years that always prepared me for this,” Penn added. “Gracie jiu-jitsu 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.
“Khabib says jiu-jitsu 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,” he concluded. “And that’s what jiu-jitsu was created for... for the little man to defend himself from the big man! That is martial arts, that is self-defense!”
Penn (16-14-2) held a record of 15-7-1 before he went on an eight-year drought. He made three successful defenses of the UFC Lightweight championship and challenged for the 170-pound crown. Penn has six career submission wins and one submission loss.
Khabib (29-0) retired in Oct. 2020 with a spotless record following three successful defenses of his UFC Lightweight title. Khabib has 11 submission wins.
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