Exclusive – Anthony Pettis Plays Down Khabib Nurmagomedov’s ‘GOAT’ Status: ‘He Won The Title Against Al Iaquinta

Anthony Pettis
Mandatory Credit: PFL

Former UFC and WEC lightweight champion, Anthony Pettis has played down claims from those who place Khabib Nurmagomedov atop the lightweight GOAT list, claiming that the Dagestani did not face the most formidable competition during his Octagon tenure.

Anthony Pettis, a former undisputed UFC and WEC lightweight titleholder, is set to headline PFL (Professional Fighters League) 7 in August in New York City – rematching fellow UFC veteran, Stevie Ray after a body triangle submission loss to the Scottish veteran back in June of this year. 

25-13 as a professional, Milwaukee veteran, Pettis ended his lenghty and gold laden tenure with the UFC back in December 2020 following the completion of his contractual obligations with a win over Alex Morono – penning a deal with the PFL.

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Touted as a lightweight division pioneer in the modern era of the sport, Pettis, who scooped WEC gold back in 2010, has so far, struggled under the PFL banner, slipping to 1-3 from four fights back in June with his loss to Ray.

In his most recent win, Pettis defeated Kilkenny native, Myles Price with a first round triangle win earlier this year, snapping prior defeats to both Clay Collard, and Raush Manfio. 

Sharing his thoughts on the discussion of the greatest lightweight of all time, Pettis played down suggestions that the aforenoted, Khabib should lay claim to that moniker.

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“You know, I think – I moved down to ‘45, I fought at ‘70 – I fought all over the place,” Anthony Pettis told LowKick MMA reporter, Michael Owens. “It’s hard to say Khabib (Nurmagomedov) because he didn’t fight everybody. He would the world title fighting Al Iaquinta.”

“Al Iaquinta wasn’t even ranked at the time, so, you know,” Anthony Pettis continued. “And then he fought some good guys after that and then he retired, so it’s hard to say he’s the GOAT. He’s definitely one of the best. But like, guys like B.J. Penn, you know – like that’s a guy for me that, you know, if he wouldn’t have came back and lost a couple fight, we all would be talking about B.J. as the GOAT, you know, one of the first. …” 

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Anthony Pettis was linked to a Khabib Nurmagomedov fight back in 2018

Briefly linked with a matchup against Khabib back in 2018, Pettis was considered by the promotion to replace then-featherweight champion, Max Holloway for a Brooklyn matchup with the Russian, however, the parties failed to come to terms on a short notice deal – with Khabib instead fighting Iaquinta.