AKA head coach Javier Mendez says that regardless of the opposition, Islam Makhachev has one goal in mind.
Makhachev was expected to share the Octagon with Beneil Dariush in the main event of UFC Vegas 49 this Saturday night (Feb. 26). That plan went awry when Beneil suffered an injury. Green was quick to answer the call for a short-notice fight and he’ll collide with Makhachev in a 160-pound catchweight bout.
No Problem For Islam Makhachev
During an interview with Submission Radio, Mendez said that the opponent never truly mattered to Islam Makhachev as long as he’s one step closer to a UFC Lightweight Title shot with a win.
“I feel bad for Beneil because he’s much deserving of this opportunity and at the same time too, I feel very happy for Bobby Green because he’s an OG and he’s deserving of this recognition of this title implication for him.
“So, I’m very happy for Bobby Green and I’m happy for Islam because, for me, it never mattered about who Islam fought. It’s just as long as he fought somebody that would get him closer to that title shot. So, [whether] it’d be Bobby Green or Beneil, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that he gets an opportunity to showcase his talent and his skills and to show everybody why Khabib and I believe he’s the next heir to the throne.”
Mendez also said that fight fans shouldn’t rule out the possibility of Makhachev engaging in the standup with Green.
“Well, that clear-cut way, it may be the ground, it may be distance, it may be a different thing than you guys think. For Davi Ramos, the clear-cut plan for that one was stand, be the matador versus the bull. Islam executed that to a tee. That wasn’t a ground game, that was the standup game. If you guys watched that fight you’d go, ‘Wow, that was a masterful standup display by Islam Makhachev,’ and he’s way better now.
“So, it’s one of those scenarios where we can choose what poison we want to use and we can change it any way we want round by round.”
We won’t have to wait long to find out how this one will play out. Be sure to stick with Middle Easy as we’ll be providing coverage of UFC Vegas 49. Join us for results and video highlights.