Javier Mendez thinks his student Islam Makhachev is rising up the ranks prematurely.
There is a new lightweight champion in town. Islam Makhachev proved himself to be the best 155-pounder in the world when he defeated Charles Oliveira in the main event of UFC 280. Since that win, there has been much talk about the talent of Makhachev. Throughout his career, he has been compared to his mentor Khabib Nurmagomedov and now people are expressing the fact that he might be even better than they originally thought.
Javier Mendez has coached both Makhachev and Nurmagomedov. He spoke out in the past about how he believes Makhachev is the best all-around athlete he has ever seen. That being said, he is not too happy with the way his student has been rushed up the UFC pound-for-pound rankings.
Javier Mendez thinks Islam Makhachev needs to do more to earn pound-for-pound greatness
Following his win at UFC 280, Makhachev was thrust up the pound-for-pound rankings. He is now sitting in the number two spot on this talent-rich list. Mendez thinks this is a little premature.
“Look, you know this just as much as I do, Islam went to No. 2 spot pound-for-pound in the UFC in just one fight? How?,” Mendez told MMA Junkie. “I know he’s good, and I believe he’s No. 1. I do believe that. But to give him that spot of No. 2 pound-for-pound in just one fight, no. I know in my heart with time he’ll be No. 1. Simple as that. He’s going to be No. 1. But they gave him this just because of one fight. No, I don’t like that. It was done too quickly.”
Makhachev has the chance to stand alone at the top of this list pretty soon. He will be taking on pound-for-pound king Alexander Volkanovski for his next fight at UFC 284 in Perth, Australia. A win will surely get him to number one but Mendez feels there is more to be done before that honor can be bestowed on him.
“He’s the man, but he needs to do more,” Mendez said. “That’s what I believe. He needs to beat Volkanovski, then Dariush. He needs to beat those guys, so you can say he’s No. 1. Look at what Volkanovski is doing. He mopped the floor with all the challengers that are in his weight class. Everyone. He cleared them all out. Islam needs to clear everyone out. Again, I feel he’s No. 1, but in order to get that you need to finish everyone, that’s how it works. That’s how I think.”
Mendez feels his pupil can do everything needed to become the very best the sport has ever seen. He has worked with him for many years and has been in the training room with many former UFC champions. The pound-for-pound spot is something to be earned, not given, and Mendez wants to see it treated as so.