American Kickboxing Academy coach Javier Mendez and his pupil Islam Makhachev are set to fight anyone on Saturday.
The Russian is set for the biggest fight of his career this weekend at UFC 280. In the pay-per-view headliner, Makhachev is expected to face Charles Oliveira. The bout will likely crown the new UFC lightweight champion.
Earlier this year ‘Do Bronx’ was stripped of his 155-pound title after missing weight against Justin Gaethje. While Oliveira wound up going on to defeat ‘The Highlight’ by first-round submission, the UFC decided to create a contingency plan in case something goes awry.
That plan is to have a backup fighter, which is featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski. ‘The Great’ has been out of action since his decision victory over Max Holloway in July. Following that win, he stated his plans to move up to lightweight next time out.
If something goes wrong, the featherweight champion could have his lightweight debut earlier than expected. However, the prospect of fighting Volkanovski isn’t a big deal to one-half of the main event.
On The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Islam Makhachev’s coach Javier Mendez discussed the possibility of his fighter facing Alexander Volkanovski. There, the longtime head coach of American Kickboxing Academy stated that it really doesn’t matter who’s in there on Saturday.
“No, [we haven’t done any tape study on Volkanovski], strictly Charles,” stated Mendez on The MMA Hour. “If it’s Alex, that’s okay, because Islam is good everywhere. We’re planning for a title fight. You can mix whoever you want. You could put [Justin] Gaethje in there, you could put Dustin [Poirier] in there, you could put whoever you want, Beneil [Dariush], it doesn’t matter. He’s ready for any one of those guys because he’s that good, that well-rounded.”
He continued, “That’s what people are missing the boat on… No, with Islam, we don’t care who it is. He’s that good in every area, and that’s why I boast. Maybe I’m boasting because he is that good.”
Luckily for Javier Mendez, a backup fighter has never been used in a UFC title fight. However, after last month’s UFC 279 fight-week shakeup, anything is possible.
What do you think about Javier Mendez’s comments? Do you believe Islam Makhachev will win at UFC 280? Sound off in the comment section below PENN Nation!