Javier Mendez, the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) founder and coach of former UFC champ Khabib Nurmagomedov, has revealed some interesting details about the time he used to train the MMA legend.
In an interview with Helen Yee Sports, Mendez said that the fighter would often do the opposite of what he would tell him to do.
Mendez said: “He’s (Khabib Nurmagomedov) been telling me things lately how we don’t understand each other. It started when we first started training.”
“When he first came to me, and I go, ‘This guy is unbelievable. He’s killing everybody, but damn it! He doesn’t listen.’ I go, ‘If he could just listen, he’d be so good. He could be one of the greatest. That’s what I was thinking in my mind.”
The coach would ofter complain about him going ballistic when told to relax and give rest to himself after rigorous training sessions.
Why did Khabib Nurmagomedov retire?
The Dagestani fighter announced his retirement after thumping Justin Gaethje in October 2020. He said he doesn’t want to fight anymore because of his father Abdulmanap’s death. His father had died of the novel coronavirus before the Gaethje fight.
An emotional Nurmagomedov said after his July fight: “Today, this was my last fight. Ain’t no way I’m going to come here without my father.”
But UFC President White held out hope that the Dagestani fighter might make a return to the Octagon.
White’s pursuit to bring Khabib back
The announcement of Khabib’s retirement didn’t persuade everyone. Dana White was adamant that Nurmagomedov should continue fighting.
“We’re going to have dinner on Saturday or Sunday and just talk and see,” White said at a UFC 259 pre-fight news conference held Thursday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
He added: “I think if Khabib is interested, he’ll take the fight. You don’t see Khabib saying, ‘Leave me alone. Stop asking me.’ So there’s still a chance. That’s the way I look at it.”
Dana White announces Nurmagomedov’s retirement on social media
Arguably, the greatest mixed martial artist of all time has officially retired after UFC president Dana White and Nurmagomedov on Thursday, took to Twitter to reveal the outcome of their final meeting.
Nurmagomedov also thanked White for the dinner, calling their meeting “a real conversation between real men”. He made the remarks in an Instagram post.
UFC vacated the lightweight strap
Shortly after White’s announcement, the organization announced that a lightweight title fight will proceed between Michael Chandler and Charles Oliveira, which will headline UFC 262 on May 15.
With UFC acknowledging Khabib Nurmagomedov is retired, Michael Chandler (@MikeChandlerMMA) and Charles Oliveira (@CharlesDoBronxs) will fight for the lightweight championship at UFC 262 on May 15. End of an era. Start of a new chapter at 155. pic.twitter.com/he6cEEg5n0
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) March 19, 2021
Many MMA analysts have, however, criticized the UFC for choosing Chandler for the title shot. They believe it is too early for him to earn the strap since he has only fought once in a UFC octagon before.
He made his UFC debut at UFC 257 against Dana Hooker where Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor highlighted the main event.
The experts felt that this was unjust to those fighters in the lightweight division who have been struggling to get a title fight for years.