After many years of working together, Javier Mendez explains how he feels about Khabib Nurmagomedov walking away from MMA.
After many years of fighting and coaching, UFC Hall of Famer Khabib Nurmagomedov has decided that it is time for him to take a step back from the sport of MMA. After retiring at 29-0, Nurmagomedov took on a mentor-type role for his training partners and began to help them on their journeys within the sport. Although Nurmagomedov maintained that he was not their coach, many saw him as such and gave him some of the credit for the successes of his teammates in the past few years. Now he wants to spend time with family and will be leaving the sport altogether.
One man who has had a long relationship with Nurmagomedov throughout his fighting career is well-known coach Javier Mendez. He helped Nurmagomedov during his UFC career and now works alongside him to help other fighters such as UFC champion Islam Makhachev. Mendez is now reflecting on how Nurmagomedov’s departure will change his coaching and the careers of his fighters going forward.
Javier Mendez gives his 100 percent support to Khabib Nurmagomedov’s decision
Mendez was a guest on The Submission Radio podcast to talk about his former pupil and good friend Nurmagomedov. He was asked about his gut reaction to the news of him walking away from the sport.
“I told him, just remember you can always come back if that’s what you choose to do and just your presence there in the corner with us is a big push for the guys. So you don’t have to train the guys you can just show up fight night,” he said. “But he, at the present time, he’s choosing to just stay at home and be with his family and how can you fight that? Like there’s really nothing I can say that’s more important than family so you know I’m with him 100 percent on what he wants to do.”
Since retiring from fighting Nurmagomedov has opened his very own MMA organization. He created Eagle FC, a premier regional MMA organization that has been very successful so far, Mendez mentioned that his business will continue and that Nurmagomedov will still be involved, he will just be doing his business at home and not traveling.
As for the day-to-day and fight night moments of the young careers of fighters like Usman Nurmagomedov and Makhachev, the former UFC champ might be in attendance from time to time. Mendez explained that Nurmagomedov’s absence in the corner will be nothing new.
“I’ve been working Islam Makhachev’s corner since 2015, every fight except the Russia fight I didn’t work that one but every other one I’ve been in Islam’s corner,” he explained. “Khabib has not, so not having Khabib there it’s, for me, it’s a great thing to have him there and I would want him there but I’m okay with him not being there either. Because Islam Makhachev is such a great student of the game and he knows what he needs to do. When you formulate the game plan, give him the game plan, he goes out and executes. He’s really the best at that because Islam Makhachev can do everything.”
Nurmagomedov initially decided to retire following the death of his father. He made a promise to his mother that he would not continue fighting and has kept that promise. It is clear that family is very important to him and now he is giving up the coaching side of things to spend his time at home with his family.