For years, lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov has insisted that Islam Makhachev is a better fighter than he is. As unlikely as that seems, coach Javier Mendez has insisted that this may be true, when sharing details of their training sessions.
Mendez has been coaching Khabib for years, as he has reigned atop the lightweight division. He has helped coach the Dagestani all the way to 29 straight victories with no losses, only having lost two rounds in his entire career.
This amount of dominance is what makes it hard to believe Khabib when he says that the young prospect Islam Makhachev is better than he is. Not only that, but Khabib insists that Islam is a future champion in the making.
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Javier Mendez Shares Sparring Stories
Islam Makhachev was originally supposed to fight Rafael dos Anjos in his next fight, but after being forced out of that bout, he is facing Drew Dober at UFC 259. Javier Mendez explained in a recent interview that this is possibly a tougher fight than RDA, but won’t get Islam the same respect.
“Unfortunately for him in this fight, Drew Dober is such an incredibly tough guy, but he’s not expected to be a huge challenge for (Islam) because of the rankings,” Mendez said.
“A win for Islam is not going to bring his stock up too high, when a win against RDA would have really moved his stock up. In this particular situation, we may even have a tougher guy, but not ranked higher.
“It’s one of those scenarios where he’s going to get through it, and he’s going to do great, but he belongs fighting the top five in the world. That’s where Islam belongs, in my opinion.”
The reason Javier Mendez feels this way about Islam, is because of the way he looks in training. In fact, the AKA coach explained that Islam has been the only person to get the better of Khabib in the training room.
“There’s no secret, I’ve always said, when people ask me about Khabib sparring, that he’s never lost a sparring session ever in the history of sparring with me, ever,” Mendez explained.
“I’d say he’s lost a round here or there, and the thing that I’ve never said is who, and the person who (has won rounds against Khabib) is Islam. He’s the only one that’s won a round against Khabib, ever. Ever. Ever.
“He’s the only one who’s ever done it. No one’s ever beat Khabib in a round never, in all the years that he’s been with me… So if Islam is winning a round here or there, how good is Islam?”
Do you believe Javier Mendez about Islam Makhachev being the only person to win rounds against Khabib Nurmagomedov in training? Is Islam a future UFC champion?