The lightweight division is in a bit of a limbo, as Khabib Nurmagomedov has been suggesting that he is retired, but the UFC seems to think this is not true. While his coach, Javier Mendez can not speak to what Khabib plans on doing, he says that the lightweight champ has not spoken to him about being completely done.
Mendez has been supportive of Khabib’s decisions, no matter what they are. When the Dagestani’s father passed away earlier this year, he said that he would stand by Khabib’s decision if he did not want to fight again. Then when the surprise announcement was made that Nurmagomedov was retiring after dominating Justin Gaethje, Javier made it clear that he would not be trying to convince Khabib otherwise, showing immense respect for his pupil.
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Javier Mendez Still Not Sure If Khabib Will Fight Again
The longer it has been without official confirmation that Khabib Nurmagomedov is retired, the more confusing the whole situation seems to be. Despite repeatedly being asked about it, Javier Mendez says that he is just as in the dark about the situation as everyone else. Speaking in a recent interview, he says that he is not putting any pressure on Khabib one way or the other, but that the undefeated champ has not yet directly said that he was done, at least not to Javier.
“Who knows?” Mendez said. “Since I never had that conversation 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, and it would have to be with his mother’s permission. Not coach’s permission, not fighter’s permission, nobody’s permission but mother’s permission.
“And he has to want it too,” Mendez continued. “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.”
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Future Of The Lightweight Title
Many people, Nurmagomedov included, feel that if Khabib is retiring, then the upcoming lightweight fight with Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor should be for the vacant title. For the most part, this is something that Javier Mendez agrees with. However he thinks that Dustin is the rightful contender, and anybody he fights would be an acceptable title fight.
“Let’s face it, if in fact he’s not coming back, and we know that for a fact, and I don’t know that, but if in fact he’s not, then the rightful person that should be fighting for the title is Dustin against anybody,” Mendez said. “So to me, they’ve got one right person 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. 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 think Khabib Nurmagomedov is retired for good? If so, do you agree with Javier Mendez that Dustin Poirier is the rightful contender?