Javier Mendez Talks Potential Matchup Between Islam Makhachev And Conor McGregor: ‘He Gets To Do What Khabib Didn’t Finish’

Javier Mendez is interested in Islam Makhachev fighting Conor McGregor if the lightweight king believes his legacy will benefit.

Javier Mendez
Islam Makhachev with Javier Mendez (Left) and Conor McGregor (Right)(Images via Instagram @AKAJav and @TheNotoriousMMA)

Javier Mendez discussed the possibility of Islam Makhachev fighting Conor McGregor. 

In October 2018, ‘The Notorious’ and Khabib Nurmagomedov met inside the T-Mobile Arena for one of the biggest MMA fights of all time. Nurmagomedov emerged victorious with a fourth-round submission win, and McGregor never had a chance to avenge his loss before ‘The Eagle’ retired. 

Five years later, McGregor is close to making his highly-anticipated return to the Octagon. Meanwhile, Nurmagomedov’s close friend and lifelong training partner, Islam Makhachev, has followed in his footsteps by becoming the UFC lightweight champion and arguably the number one pound-for-pound fighter on the planet

On paper, a matchup between McGregor and Makhachev wouldn’t make sense. With that said, a combination of their superstar statuses and connections to Nurmagomedov could lead to an unexpected fight.

During an interview with Red Corner MMA, the American Kickboxing Academy coach and affiliate of Islam Makhachev, Javier Mendez, was asked about a fight between the UFC lightweight champion and Conor McGregor.

Mendez responded by saying:

“I see that as a fight that would be interesting for Islam because he gets to do what Khabib [Nurmagomedov] didn’t finish, I guess you could say. He gets to come back and get on the same journey that Khabib did. It’s a great payday for Islam. I think it’s great if Islam wants it. If he doesn’t, then maybe going to the welterweight title is more appealing to him, to create a legacy that he wants.”

Javier Mendez continued by saying: 

“Beating Conor is not going to create the kind of legacy that Islam wants. Going after the welterweight title, that’s a legacy-type moment. With Conor, it’s a money, and it’s a hype thing. I don’t know his thoughts on that. It’s never been brought up.”

Javier Mendez claims Conor McGregor needs to show he’s worthy of fighting Islam Makhachev

Conor McGregor’s last UFC win was against Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone in January 2020. Therefore, McGregor fighting Islam Makhachev wouldn’t make sense on paper since the Russian lightweight king is riding a thirteen-fight win streak, including several wins against elite opponents. 

During the previously mentioned interview, Javier Mendez had this to say about McGregor potentially not deserving a fight against Makhachev: 

“In terms of matchmaking, I don’t know if you can say from a real sport, and this is not a real sport, this is entertainment first. If it was a real sport, then Conor wouldn’t get the amount of opportunities he gets. So, from a real sport, no, he needs to show that he’s worthy. From an entertainment [perspective], yes, because he’s still the biggest name right now.”

Javier Mendez followed up by saying when he expects Islam Makhachev to fight again: 

“I hope to see Islam fight before Ramadan. That’s usually the routine. Knowing the UFC, hopefully it’s in the U.S. somewhere. Let’s see what happens. There is no matches announced…For me, I don’t really know anything until the UFC puts it on their schedule and agenda that so and so is fighting.”

Islam Makhachev last fought on October 21, defeating Alexander Volkanovski in a short-notice rematch after Charles Oliveira pulled out with an injury. 

Once Makhachev returns, he’s expected to defend his UFC lightweight title in a rematch against Charles Oliveira. Earlier today, Makhachev’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, claimed the 155-pound king’s earliest potential return date is in March.

Watch Javier Mendez’s interview with Red Corner MMA below:

Published on November 5, 2023 at 8:27 pm
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