EXCLUSIVE | Javier Mendez: Khabib Nurmagomedov is “The Future of the Lightweight Division” | BJPenn.com Radio
By JAKE CHASTAIN
| This past Wednesday AKA head coach Javier Mendez joined our boys over at BJPenn.com Radio and discussed several topics about this weekend’s UFC 160 event. On that card Mendez will be coaching three of his fighters, one of them being undefeated lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov. Khabib is 19-0 and is 3-0 inside the UFC octagon and will take on Abel Trujillo on the preliminary card of Saturday’s fights. Mendez discussed the talent that Khabib possesses and just how much he deserves the hype that many hardcore fans are giving him:
“I 100% agree with all of the hype he’s getting. He’s the real deal and he’s the future of the lightweight division, people like him. I don’t know too many other people that I would say would be near his category because he’s a youngster coming in and competing at this level and, uh, he’s a big 155er, Khabib. So, I definitely agree. He’s, to me, the future of the lightweight division. There’s a few other ones like him but their basically the cream-of-the-crop- future.”
Although Mendez believes that Khabib is a true talent and could very well be the future of the UFC lightweight division he went on to explain that he still not completely sold on Nurmagomedov being a natural born champion. The Russian Fighter has been spending more time at AKA but also spends much of his time back home in Russia. Mendez explained that until he completely commits to a top-tier camp like the one he’s training at now in San Jose (AKA) he may have trouble reaching that title. But that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Mendez stated,
“I believe he can be champion but I can’t be 100% locked on it happening. Daniel Cormier is another one that I fell is like Cain and BJ, I believe he’s in the same category as those mentioned individuals. But Khabib I’m not 100% going to say yes. One of the biggest reasons, to be honest with you guys, is that camps are very important and unless you are with a strong camp that can give you the support you need sometimes you’ll fall short because you don’t have adequate sparring, you don’t have the adequate coaching. And it’s all going to depend on Khabib and how much he can spend with the top camps, whether it be my camp or Greg Jackson’s or somewhere else. But I think to sharpen your skills you need to be in a top camp to sharpen.”
So what do you think fight fans? Will a win this weekend put Khabib in line for a title shot or does the Russian still have more to prove inside the UFC octagon?
To listen to the entire interview with Javier Mendez on BJPenn.com Radio click here