Kevin Holland Declares Khabib Nurmagomedov as the ‘Greatest Lightweight of all Time’

Published 03/20/2021, 12:22 PM EDT
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 06: Khabib Nurmagomedov interacts with media during the UFC 249 press conference at T-Mobile Arena on March 06, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)


Khabib Nurmagomedov vacating his title is one of the biggest things to happen to the UFC this year. While we knew that this was happening after Khabib announced his retirement last October, the UFC kept reiterating it isn’t final. However, now that it is definite, people are finalizing the legacy that Khabib has left behind and how he will be remembered.

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UFC Middleweight Kevin Holland, who is fighting Derek Brunson, spoke up about Khabib. Holland simply declared that ‘The Eagle’ as the greatest 155-er of all-time and wishes we could have seen Khabib extend his record to 30-0.

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“There’s only one Khabib. 29-0. Would’ve been nice to see him go 30, but you k ow 29-0. Greatest Lightweight of all time, there’s no way to deny that. Greatest Lightweight to ever grace the sport.”

Holland got a little shifty when he was asked whether Khabib stands tall as the greatest regardless of weight classes. “Don’t do that to me. I don’t know. He’s the only one to go undefeated. I’ll leave it at that. Only one to go out undefeated, that’s great stuff.”

Khabib Nurmagomedov: Is he the greatest of all time?

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Khabib Nurmagomedov‘s place on the all-time of the Lightweight division is a little tricky. While the long-standing Lightweight GOAT has been BJ Penn, his horrific downfall has put a cloud over his claim. However, prime BJ Penn was possibly one of the best fighters that stepped inside a UFC Octagon. His impact on the division can never be forgotten.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – OCTOBER 25: (L-R) Khabib Nurmagomedov of Russia celebrates his victory over Justin Gaethje in their lightweight title bout during the UFC 254 event on October 25, 2020 on UFC Fight Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Other lightweights like Frankie Edgar are also considered in the race. We could probably have spoken about Tony Ferguson in this race if ‘El Cucuy’ could get his hands on the undisputed title. Khabib is the only one of these fighters to have been dominant, a champion, and retire with his legacy intact.

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While Lightweight maybe his division, all-time GOAT is a harder case to make. He doesn’t have the same championship records that others like Jon Jones, Georges St-Pierre, and Demetrious Johnson have. His limited UFC tenure adds an asterisk on his record, but his greatness cannot be doubted.

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Ishaan Bhattacharya

1510 articles

Ishaan Bhattacharya is an NBA, NCAA Basketball, and Combat Sports writer at EssentiallySports. Currently, Ishaan is pursuing a Post Graduate Degree in Journalism from Xavier's Institute of Communication. Previously, Ishaan has written for The Indian Express, The Quint, Sportskeeda, and WrestleClub.

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