American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) coach Javier Mendez has shared his thoughts on the stakes of a potential fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Georges St-Pierre.
Mendez, the long-time coach of the lightweight champion Nurmagomedov, weighed in on a potential superfight between his star pupil and St-Pierre, the former welterweight and middleweight champ, in a Spanish-language interview on Hablemos MMA.
By his estimation, the winner of the fight will be the greatest mixed martial artist of all time.
“Yeah, I think so, and so does Khabib,” Mendez said (via MMA Junkie). “The person that beats GSP will be the best of all time. I think so.”
Nurmagomedov, who is currently a flawless 28-0 as a pro, is scheduled to defend his title against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254. The champ has made no secret of his desire to fight St-Pierre next if he gets by Gaethje. It’s also been speculated that a potential fight with St-Pierre could be the last of the undefeated Russian’s career.
Mendez believes that’s a possibility, as it was something Nurmagomedov had discussed with his late father, Abdulmanap.
“Yeah, it’s a big possibility,” Mendez said of Nurmagomedov. “He might do that because all the times that I was with him and his dad, they’ve talked about those things: two more fights, 30-0.
“They want to do a legacy fight, then be done and help the other guys that are starting their fighting careers,” Mendes continued. “There’s great fighters, cousins of his who are great fighter like Umar and Usman Nurmagomedov. They’re his blood. They’re going to be great fighters. Islam Makhachev too.
“So he wants to help them get to the title. I don’t think he’ll fight beyond that, but anything is possible. I was a fighter too and when you’re finishing a career, you feel it in your heart, you want to fight more and it’s hard not to fight. I don’t think he’ll continue fighting, but anything is possible.”
Mendez continued, expanding on the importance that Nurmagomedov places on honoring his late father’s wishes.
“He doesn’t want that fight for money and that’s what his father wanted,” Mendez said. “He told me, ‘That’s what my father wants. What do you think coach?’ And I was like, ‘You know, if that’s what your father wants, we can do it, and if that’s what you want as well.’ And he’s like, ‘Yeah, I want to do it for my father, so I’m like, ‘Let’s do it.’
“But if he doesn’t want to end his career he can jump back in there. He’s young, he’s only 31, so he still has a more years of fighting. I’m not going to tell him he has to fight. I’m going to go with what he wants to do.”
Do you think we’ll see a superfight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Georges St-Pierre in 2021?