Javier Mendez: Islam Makhachev Has All The Tools To Be The Next UFC Lightweight Champion

MakhachevAmerican Kickboxing Academy leader, Javier Mendez has already produced one UFC lightweight champion hailing from Russian in the form of current pacesetter, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and he now claims Khabib’s compatriot, Islam Makhachev is waiting in ‘The Eagle’s’ wings — capable of becoming the next lightweight titleholder. Scheduled to make his long-anticipated Octagon return, the streaking […]

Makhachev

American Kickboxing Academy leader, Javier Mendez has already produced one UFC lightweight champion hailing from Russian in the form of current pacesetter, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and he now claims Khabib’s compatriot, Islam Makhachev is waiting in ‘The Eagle’s’ wings — capable of becoming the next lightweight titleholder.

Scheduled to make his long-anticipated Octagon return, the streaking Makhachev draws fellow surging contender, Drew Dober at UFC 259 in two week’s time, slated to make his first UFC walk since September of 2019 at UFC 242. 

Makhachev was slated to headline a UFC Vegas 14 event in November against former lightweight champion, Rafael dos Anjos — with the matchup shelved for a second time after the former was stricken with a staph infection. Niteroi native, dos Anjos would go on to lodge a split decision win over short-notice replacement, Paul Felder at the event.

The 29-year-old has amassed a six-fight winning spree since his knockout loss to Adriano Martins at UFC 192 in October of 2015, and according to renowned head coach, Mendez, Makchaev has “all the tools” to score lightweight gold next.

Well, I wouldn’t call him (Islam Makhachev) the next Khabib (Nurmagomedov), I’d just call him the next Islam — which to me is the next champ,” Mendez said during a recent interview with Mike Swick on the Real Quick with Mike Swick show. “I think he has all the tools to be the next lightweight champion. And it’s just a matter of getting by Drew Dober which is no easy task.

Drew’s ranked higher in the rankings (than Makhachev),” Mendez said. “You know, he’s not ranked lower which he should be ranked lower cause he’s really that good. But for us, beating a Drew Dober which we’re planning on doing, is not gonna do a great deal for us, only because Drew’s ranking is too high.

Failing to secure another rebooking against dos Anjos, Mendez maintains an outing and victory over the former division gold holder would’ve benefited Makhachev more than a victory over Dober — predicting he would’ve earned the #7 rank at 155-pounds.

If we would’ve got RDA (Rafael dos Anjos) as was originally scheduled, that would’ve been a good one, because then they (the ranking committee) would’ve put him in the top-ten at least, I would say top-seven for damn sure if he had of beat RDA — which I believe he would’ve.

Entering his March 6th. outing against Dober riding a six-fight winning streak, Makhachev has taken decision wins over Chris Wade, Nik Lentz, fellow prospect, Arman Tsakuryan, and Davi Ramos, as well as an armbar win over Kajan Johnson and a knockout of Gleison Tibau. 

Elevation Fight Team mainstay, Dober is enjoying a rich vein of form as well — scoring a trio of knockout victories over Marco Polo Reyes, the highly-touted, Nasrat Haqparast, as well as a UFC Fight Night Jacksonville stoppage of Alexander Hernandez last May. 

Javier Mendez Expects Umar Nurmagomedov To Become Eventual UFC Champion

Nurmagomedov family gracie comparisonJavier Mendez expects another Nurmagomedov to become champion. Khabib Nurmagomedov recently retired following his lightweight title defense in October and despite UFC president Dana White’s best efforts, it looks like it will remain that way. However, American Kickboxing Academy head coach Mendez believes “The Eagle’s” cousin in Umar Nurmagomedov could very well be the next […]

Nurmagomedov family gracie comparison

Javier Mendez expects another Nurmagomedov to become champion.

Khabib Nurmagomedov recently retired following his lightweight title defense in October and despite UFC president Dana White’s best efforts, it looks like it will remain that way.

However, American Kickboxing Academy head coach Mendez believes “The Eagle’s” cousin in Umar Nurmagomedov could very well be the next UFC champion within two years in the bantamweight division.

“I’ve been saying it, in five or six fights, I expect him to be fighting for a title, and I believe we’re seeing a new champion, 100 percent,” Mendez told MMA Junkie. “He still has some improvements to make, but he’s going to make them. And yeah, you will be seeing him with the strap in five or six fights from now.”

The younger Nurmagomedov signed with the UFC in early 2020 but only made his highly-anticipated debut last month due to a number of reasons including the COVID-19 pandemic.

He comfortably defeated Sergey Morozov via second-round submission to enjoy a successful UFC debut.

“It was really nice to finally see him get this opportunity after so many things have happened,” Mendez added. “It was nice for him to do it as the same date as Khabib – Jan. 20 is the same date Khabib entered (the UFC), and the choke was the same as Khabib’s choke, so all those combined, it was an incredible experience.

“He came in not a Khabib prodigy, he came in as Umar. He’s just himself, and he showed what great talent he has and diversity in different techniques. But father’s plan is still best plan for Team Eagle, and he showed that, too. He also showed these guys can strike, too.”

Perhaps we could see him collide with fellow Russian and current bantamweight champion Petr Yan in a few years?

What do you think of Nurmagomedov’s potential?

Javier Mendez: McGregor Has ‘Regressed’, Khabib Rematch Will Never Happen

Javier MendezAmerican Kickboxing Academy head coach Javier Mendez believes Conor McGregor has regressed after watching the Irishman lose to Dustin Poirier at UFC 257. For that reason, Mendez says McGregor will never get the chance to rematch his star student and UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. ‘Notorious’ looked flat as he was easily taken out by […]

Javier Mendez

American Kickboxing Academy head coach Javier Mendez believes Conor McGregor has regressed after watching the Irishman lose to Dustin Poirier at UFC 257. For that reason, Mendez says McGregor will never get the chance to rematch his star student and UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.

‘Notorious’ looked flat as he was easily taken out by Poirier in their highly anticipated rematch this past weekend. McGregor previously knocked out ‘The Diamond’ in 2014. However, six years on the tables turned with Poirier using wrestling, calf kicks, and fast hands to stop McGregor inside two rounds.

In an interview with Submission Radio, Mendez gave his thoughts on the fight, McGregor’s performance, and exactly what went wrong.

“When I saw Dustin start going for the leg kicks, I go, oh my god, Conor’s stance is not made for checking properly, leg kicks like that. Especially calf kicks,” Mendez said. So, I thought that was going to be a major problem. And then when he hit Dustin with the good shot and Dustin took it, that’s when I kind of knew, oh boy, things are gonna change. And sure enough, they did. And it was a great game plan from Dustin to work the leg kicks, calf kicks. And it was a bad judgement on Conor’s part to not be prepared for that.”

“[Inactivity] does affect things, and that’s what he’s saying, but I also happen to know too, when you make changes in camp, when things weren’t broken, why change them? I heard he went to Portugal, or something like that, to do training,” Mendez added. “But what was wrong with where he’s always trained? I don’t know. It looks like he made a lot of changes, and why change when things aren’t broken? I’ve always told Khabib and all those guys, when you’re doing something good and you’re winning, why change it? Why try to change things up? There’s no need to change things if things are working. That’s what I’m thinking. I’m not saying I’m right; I’m just saying that’s what I’m thinking.”

Mendez went on to claim McGregor would get “smashed” in a rematch with Nurmagomedov in a fight he says is no longer on the table.

“He would’ve got smashed. Khabib’s gotten better,” Mendez claimed. “He would’ve gotten smashed. He would have gotten smashed. Straight up. Khabib’s better. He’s better than he was when they fought two years ago. Conor didn’t appear to be better. He’s regressed a little bit. Khabib’s gotten way better. He would have gotten smashed.”

“You’re never gonna get that rematch,” Mendez concluded. “Just like you’re never going to get the Tony and Khabib fight. That’s never gonna happen either. It’s not gonna happen. I mean, Khabib doesn’t need it. He seems fulfilled. And like I said, I think the only juicy part for him is what his father wanted, GSP. I’ve said it many times. And who knows, maybe that’s out of the question now. Maybe GSP doesn’t want it, maybe Khabib don’t want it now. I don’t know, cause I never talked to Khabib about what he wants, I’ve always listened to him.”

Do you agree with Javier Mendez? Has Conor McGregor regressed?

Javier Mendez Gives Edge To Conor McGregor Over Dustin Poirier

McGregorAmerican Kickboxing Academy head coach Javier Mendez favors Conor McGregor to come out on top against Dustin Poirier. The pair are set to collide in a rematch that will take place at lightweight in the UFC 257 headliner on January 23 in Abu Dhabi’s Fight Island. McGregor, of course, already defeated Poirier in the past […]

McGregor

American Kickboxing Academy head coach Javier Mendez favors Conor McGregor to come out on top against Dustin Poirier.

The pair are set to collide in a rematch that will take place at lightweight in the UFC 257 headliner on January 23 in Abu Dhabi’s Fight Island.

McGregor, of course, already defeated Poirier in the past when he knocked him out during their 2014 featherweight clash.

And having prepared pupil Khabib Nurmagomedov for both fighters in recent years, Mendez is giving the edge to McGregor due to his striking ability.

That said, he’s not counting Poirier out entirely.

“I favor Conor because he’s the better precision striker, and taking Conor to the ground is going to be no easy task for Dustin,” Mendez said on “The Schmozone Podcast” (via MMA Junkie). “So Dustin is going to have to grit it out, get inside and grind it out if he’s able to.

“Anything is possible, they’re both world class athletes, but I definitely favor Conor because of the striking aspect. He’s the master striker in the lightweight division. So I favor Conor, but I’m not counting out Dustin by any means.”

Should Nurmagomedov remain retired, it’s possible the winner of McGregor vs. Poirier could get the next title shot at the very least — assuming the fight isn’t already changed to a vacant title fight.

And Mendez has no problem with that given that Poirier is in the mix.

“If in fact (Nurmagomedov is) not coming back, then the rightful person that should be fighting for the title is Dustin against anybody,” Mendez added. “So, to me, they got one of the right persons in there, and Conor would be the second right one. Justin Gaethje could be the next guy, or it could be Michael Chandler. It doesn’t matter, or Oliveira.

“What matters is that Dustin is in the title hunt because he’s the one, in my opinion, that’s most deserving of a title shot.”

Do you agree with Mendez?

Javier Mendez Says Khabib Has Never Confirmed Retirement To Him

KhabibRenowned American Kickboxing Academy leader, Javier Mendez has recently touched on the retirement of his longtime student, undisputed UFC lightweight champion, Khabib ‘The Eagle’ Nurmagomedov, detailing how the Russian hasn’t officially confirmed his retirement, to him at least.  Mendez, the longtime trainer of Khabib also holds the reigns for fellow lightweight standout, Islam Makhachev, and […]

Khabib

Renowned American Kickboxing Academy leader, Javier Mendez has recently touched on the retirement of his longtime student, undisputed UFC lightweight champion, Khabib ‘The Eagle’ Nurmagomedov, detailing how the Russian hasn’t officially confirmed his retirement, to him at least. 

Mendez, the longtime trainer of Khabib also holds the reigns for fellow lightweight standout, Islam Makhachev, and over the last decade in mixed martial arts, produced UFC champions such as Cain Velasquez, Daniel Cormier, and Luke Rockhold to name a few. 

Khabib, who successfully unified the promotion’s 155-pound titles at UFC 254 in October against then-interim champion, Justin ‘The Highlight’ Gaethje, has been continously linked with a snapping of his retirement, with the possibility of a return outing against former two-weight world champion, Georges ‘Rush’ St-Pierre floated again and again. 

The 29-0 sambo-specialist called time on his career in quite surprising fashion immediately following his triangle win over Gaethje on ‘Fight Island’ — detailing how he had made a prior promise to his mother that he wouldn’t make the Octagon walk again without his late father and masterful coach, Abdulmanap by his side, who had sadly passed away following complications stemming from COVID-19 earlier this year.

In the weeks and months since his retirement, Khabib has reiterated his stance on the decision and even noted his confusion as to why he’s still billed as the undisputed lightweight champion despite hanging up his gloves. For promotional leader, Dana White, however, he’s claimed he’s confident the Russian will make a return in search of a thirtieth straight win — ahead of an expected sitdown in Abu Dhabi next month. 

Speaking on The Schmozone Podcast recently, Mendez claimed he had yet to speak with Khabib regarding his retirement, and while he’s never actually confirmed his decision to walk away from the sport to him, Mendez told how if Khabib was to return, he would need his mother’s blessing to do so. 

 “Who knows?” Mendez said. “Since I never had that conversation (about retirement) with him, I really can’t say I know anything other than that I can speculate. Speculation would be that if he does (come back) it’d have to be with GSP (Georges St-Pierre), and it would have to be with his mother’s permission. Not [the] coach’s permission, not [the] fighter’s permission, nobody’s permission but [his] mother’s permission.

And, he (Khabib Nurmagomedov) has to want it,” Mendez explained. “I don’t know that he wants it or doesn’t want it because we’ve never discussed it. This is not something that I’m going to bring up to him. If he brings it up to me, then I’ll give him my opinion and we’ll leave it at that, but as of yet, he’s never discussed why he decided to make the retirement speech, so he’s never officially told me, ‘Coach I’m done.’ He’s never officially told me that.

While the fighting future of the current pound-for-pound number-one and lightweight pacesetter seems confusing to say the least, UFC 257 on January 23 could shed some light on the potential next challenger to the throne, be that vacant or otherwise. Prior-foes of Khabib, Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier and ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor run back their 2014 meeting on ‘Fight Island’ in a sure to be title-eliminator at 155-pounds. 

Javier Mendez: Khabib Nurmagomedov Prolonged Conor McGregor Fight To ‘Punish Him’

NurmagomedovKhabib Nurmagomedov‘s fight with Conor McGregor only lasted four rounds because the former wanted it that way according to American Kickboxing Academy head coach Javier Mendez. Nurmagomedov recently submitted Justin Gaethje with a triangle choke in the second round of their UFC 254 headliner this past weekend. Daniel Cormier would later reveal Nurmagomedov applied the […]

Nurmagomedov

Khabib Nurmagomedov‘s fight with Conor McGregor only lasted four rounds because the former wanted it that way according to American Kickboxing Academy head coach Javier Mendez.

Nurmagomedov recently submitted Justin Gaethje with a triangle choke in the second round of their UFC 254 headliner this past weekend. Daniel Cormier would later reveal Nurmagomedov applied the chokehold so that he wouldn’t hurt Gaethje in front of his parents who were in attendance.

The same cannot be said for Nurmagomedov’s submission win over McGregor at UFC 229 two years ago. “The Eagle” would triumph over the Irishman in their heated grudge match with a neck crank in the fourth round.

And as per Mendez, it could have ended sooner — if not for the fact that Nurmagomedov wanted to punish McGregor.

“I gather Khabib likes Justin a lot because he finished him sooner than he would’ve with most people,” Mendez told SunSport. “He likes to punish people a bit, ground and pound them. But Justin’s parents were there and he knew Justin wouldn’t tap and he didn’t want to break his arm in front of his parents.

“Khabib purposely let Conor go longer, he purposely stood with him, he wanted to punish him. Just because Conor went four rounds it doesn’t mean Khabib had a tougher time trying to finish him – Khabib wanted to punish Conor, he didn’t want to do that with Justin.”

It’s certainly not out of the question even though many observers do feel McGregor deserves credit for taking the fight that far as well as winning the third round.

In the end, it didn’t matter as he eventually lost to Nurmagomedov similar to 28 other opponents.

Do you believe that Nurmagomedov prolonged his fight with McGregor on purpose?