Legendary coach Javier Mendez is high on the athleticism and talent of Islam Makhachev.
There is a very exciting lightweight title matchup just weeks away. Former champion Charles Oliveira will be taking on rising star Islam Makhachev in the main event of UFC 280 that takes place on Oct. 22 in Abu Dhabi. This matchup is interesting on many levels, both men have won ten in a row and both are said to be the best in the division. There can only be one champion when UFC 280 is all said and done and in the eyes of legendary coach Javier Mendez, that man will be Makhachev.
Mendez has trained Makhachev through his rise in the UFC. He sees the talent that the young star possesses and has compared his skills to the skills of his past pupal, UFC great Khabib Nurmagomedov. Mendez thinks Makhachev is an all-around great and he will show the world just that in Abu Dhabi. He spoke to Submission Radio about his student.
“That’s what I’m trying to tell you guys it’s like you don’t know what you’re dealing with you deal with him and that’s what everybody that’s dealt with Islam they thought they could do better til they get in there and they didn’t. That’s he is so well rounded. I am going on record saying as the lightweight he is hands down the number one of all time best in all areas, number one of all time is Islam Makhachev, best defense, best striking, best everywhere, the best all-around athlete,” he said. “Way back in the day I thought it was Frank Shamrock that was the best all-around athlete and he was in all divisions but in the lightweight division for me, the person that is the best-rounded in every single area is Islam Makhachev.”
The comparisons between Makhachev and his coach Nurmagomedov have been ongoing since he got into the UFC. Both have a great ground game and are able to take their opponents down and submit them with no trouble. Mendez has seen these two on the mats together and can speak about the actual face-to-face comparisons he has seen in the gym.
“This is the reason why Khabib says what he does. In all the history since 2012, since Khabib has been sparring with me, in front of my eyes, there has been nobody that’s ever taken a round from him. No one’s ever won a sparring session, not a sparring session with Khabib ever, except one man, Islam,” he said. “He’s the only one that has won rounds from Khabib, never won a session but he’s won rounds.”
Oliveira has a great submission game as well. He was trained in BJJ as opposed to Makhachev’s wrestling. Although Mendez knows how good Oliveira is he feels he is no match for the takedowns of Makhachev.
“First of all, he’s got to take them down. It’s just a matter of when that he will take him down. Charles is not going to be able to stand,” he said. “If Islam doesn’t want to stand, he will not, he will not, he’ll be taken down. He is a second to Khabib in being able to take people down and he will go down, Charles will go down.”
Mendez has been working with Makhachev and knows that come Oct. 22 he will be ready for the challenge that Oliveira brings.