Anthony Pettis labels BJ Penn as the lightweight GOAT of MMA: “Without BJ, none of this would even be possible”

By Susan Cox - December 1, 2023

Anthony Pettis has labelled BJ Penn as the lightweight GOAT of MMA.


Pettis, (25-14 MMA), is a former WEC and UFC lightweight champion.

The now 36-year-old, left the UFC in late 2020 and went on to sign with the PFL (Professional Fighters League) in December of that same year.

It was during an interview with ‘Low Kick MMA‘, that Pettis shared who he believes are the top five greatest lightweights of all time:

“(I’ve) got to go BJ Penn. I mean, BJ Penn is one of the pioneers of the whole thing. Without B.J., none of this would even be possible. 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.”

Continuing, ‘Showtime’ spoke about current UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev, advising its too early to put him in the top five with himself, Benson Henderson, Dustin Poirier and BJ Penn (h/t MMAJunkie):

“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.”

Concluding, Pettis said:

“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.”

Pettis is currently preparing to meet Benson Henderson for a third time in combat sports at the Karate Combat 43 headliner which is being held at the Expo at World Trade Market in Las Vegas on Friday, December 15th.

Do you agree with Pettis’s top five lightweights of all time? Where do you rank UFC legend BJ Penn?

Share your thoughts in the comment section PENN Nation!


Anthony Pettis BJ Penn UFC