Khabib’s Coach Javier Mendez: McGregor Was Toughest Fight To Date

UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has ran through everyone he has faced in the 155lbsdivision, while retaining his perfect record of 28 wins and no losses. ‘The Eagle’ is expected to fight the winner of the Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje bout, scheduled for May 9th at UFC 249.

Speaking on The Luke Thomas Show (transcript by The Mac Life), Khabib’s long time coach Javier Mendez, assessed both Ferguson and Gaethje as dangerous opponents, but in different ways.

“Wrestling wise, [Ferguson and Gaethje] cancel each other out when it comes to going with Khabib,” Mendez said. “They both have division one wrestling. Striking, they’re different in striking. We worry with elbows with Tony, [he] has got great elbows and some submissions that are tricky, whereas Justin has none.

“But Justin is great with leg kicking. Great leg kicker, is going to be in your face, and he throws decent power, then he’s going to knock you out. He has the intention of knocking you out. They both possess different strengths. That’s what I have to say about that. I don’t think one’s really, in my opinion, that much more dangerous for Khabib than the other, but they’re both dangerous.

“They both possess different strengths. The only thing about Tony is, in my opinion, you can’t break him. He won’t break, he will not break. So you’re going to be in there five rounds with this guy, and if [you] can’t make five rounds, you’re in trouble.”

One of Khabib’s most recent victims was the former two-division UFC champion Conor McGregor, whom he submitted at UFC 229 back in October 2018. Many don’t give McGregor much chance in the possible rematch, and believe that Tony Ferguson or Justin Gaethje will prove tougher tests to the Dagestani, but the AKA head coach still fears the Irishman the most.

“No, I’m sorry. I think it’s still Conor, even though people may disagree with me,” Mendez said. “But I just know how good Conor is. Conor is the toughest fight to date.

“[Tony’s] got way better cardio, but Conor was dangerous. Anytime you let Conor unleash any kind of striking, he could put you out. And that’s why he was so dangerous to me. You let Conor get in his groove, he would have done some amazing damage if we would have allowed him to, but of course, that wasn’t going to happen.

“But, I still fear him. I really do. Not that I don’t fear the other guys, but I still fear him. I still think he’s definitely on the level who can do what I think. He still is one of the guys that, that I would do more homework on.”

Who do you think is the biggest threat to Khabib Nurmagomedov’s belt, Tony Ferguson, Justin Gaethje, or Conor McGregor?


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