Coach Javier Mendez, former coach to Khabib Nurmagomedov, was seen praising rising UFC lightweight prospect Islam Makhachev. Makhachev, according to Mendez, has a more well-rounded game than Nurmagomedov.
Makhachev, who is a fellow Dagestani lightweight, has ben claimed as the next big thing in UFC’s most packed division. Nurmagomedov has shown a lot of confidence in his pal, as well as their friendship, which eventually caused fans to wonder if Makhachev will be the next Khabib.
Only time will say if Makhachev will match the achievements of ‘The Eagle’. Mendez, on the other hand, thinks the Dagestani has the potential to be one of the finest of all time.
In an interview Mendez said, “His (Islam Makhachev’s) overall game is slightly better than Khabib’s – the stand-up, the kicking, and the ground. Remember, Islam is a two-time Sambo champion, and not just recently, too. He’s accomplished what Khabib has accomplished.
“Islam has adapted to the striking quicker than Khabib, being that Khabib will only train striking when he’s with me. And Khabib didn’t even like to kick very much very end of the last two camps. [That’s when] he started getting up the kick.”
Why are fighters avoiding Makhachev?
Other fighters have been increasingly avoiding a bout with Makhachev. He is currently on a seven-fight winning streak, with his most recent victory coming at UFC 259. After being turned down by notable fighters in the same weight class, the Dagestani has instilled fear in the minds of his opponents.
Mendez claims that Makhachev is among the elite, but he still believes that Nurmagomedov is the best boxer he has ever trained. He said, “I don’t think there is ever going to be another Khabib. Personally, I think he’s the greatest I’ve been involved with, not because of his physical ability, but because of his mental strength.”
Makhachev is reportedly ranked tenth in the UFC’s lightweight division. Despite breaking into the top ten and having a phenomenal seven-fight winning streak in the promotion, the UFC has matched the Dagestani with unranked Thiago Moises for a fight on July 17 on the UFC card.
According to Mendez, this is happening because top-10 fighters are resisting Makhachev. He said, “Islam has to take care of him [Thiago Moises] like he did Drew Dober. Then, they [ranked fighters] are going to have no choice but to fight him… this has nothing to do with the UFC.
“This has something to do with the situation, and some of the fighters actually not wanting to fight him. 100%. You can’t be that many fights in the UFC… and not get a big push.”