Javier Mendez, who serves as the head coach at American Kickboxing Academy in Fresno, California, has had a huge year. He shepherded Khabib Nurmagomedov to a lightweight title win and a successful title defense against Conor McGregor. He helped Daniel Cormier become one of just two fighters in UFC history to wear UFC belts in two weight classes concurrently. He guided dozens of other fighters to victories on the sport’s biggest stages.
In the opinion of the UFC lightweight king Khabib Nurmagomedov, these accomplishments should earn Javier Mendez Coach of the Year honors for the year 2018.
Nurmagomedov argued Mendez’s case for Coach of the Year honors in a recent post to Instagram.
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In 2018 Javier Mendez @akajav needs to become a coach of the year. I don’t want to hear any other option. Name me a coach who has three belts in @ufc only Javier has it. Miss you coach ☝️ В этом году тренером года в ММА должен стать Хавьер Мендез @akajav другие варианты даже не могут быть в рассмотрении, назовите мне тренера, который владеет 3 поясами в @ufc нету таких кроме @akajav
“In 2018 Javier Mendez needs to become a Coach of the Year,” Nurmagomedov wrote. “I don’t want to hear any other option. Name me a coach who has three belts in UFC. Only Javier has it. Miss you coach.”
While Khabib Nurmagomedov is right that Javier Mendez has had an incredible year, there are certainly a few other coaches deserving of consideration at the very least.
Sayif Saud, the head coach at Fortis MMA in Dallas, has had a huge year. So to has Mark Sangiao, the head coach at Team Lakay in the Philippines, having coached four fighters to ONE Championship title wins in the year 2018. Others like Marc Montoya, Duane Ludwig and the duo of Ray Longo and Matt Serra have also enjoyed major success this year.
Who is your pick for 2018 Coach of the Year? Do you agree with Khabib Nurmagomedov, or do you have another coach in mind for the award?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 12/26/2018.