Javier Mendez didn’t understand Khabib Nurmagomedov was going to retire at UFC 254, addresses weigh-in controversy


When UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov laid his gloves on the canvas after beating Justin Gaethje at UFC 254, fans weren’t the only ones surprised.

Nurmagomedov’s long time coach, American Kickboxing Academy’s Javier Mendez, said he had no concept Nurmagomedov would call it a career this previous Saturday in Abu Dhabi.

” He played the best poker face on earth,” Mendez told Submission Radio.

Throughout a hard training camp for the light-weight title unifier, Mendez stated the 32- year-old champ never ever gave a hint of his plans after the fight. Naturally, the coach wasn’t excited to “discuss that subject” provided the massive personal catastrophe Nurmagomedov had actually suffered simply 3 months previously when his father and longtime coach passed away due to problems from COVID-19

” I didn’t wish to get him sad, because I never ever truly got to speak to him about his dad about how he felt, due to the fact that it was passed and I figured, that’s in the past, I’m not bringing any of that up,” Mendez stated. “So all of this was an overall shock to me. I’m listening to him going, ‘Oh man, daddy’s plan, great.’ Mother’s plan works in the end.”

There were more immediate concerns to focus on in camp. From Nurmagomedov showing up with a case of the mumps, to a damaged toe suffered in the weeks prior to camp, to a battle against an enemy many anticipated to be the toughest of his profession, the coach and fighter had a lot on their hands. Even in the last minutes before the pay-per-view headliner, Mendez said, there were moments where he didn’t understand if his fighter was in the right head area.

I’m going, uh-oh. I go uh-oh. Am I going to get him the way I need him?

Mendez said the lack of Nurmagomedov’s dad, Abdulmanap, was the obvious difference in preparing for the champ’s 29 th fight. Despite the fact that Mendez only worked in individual with Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov for his kid’s previous fight, a title defense against Poirier, he noticed the fighter’s behavior was not the same.

” As a coach, you notice your fighter’s antics and what they do and don’t do,” he said. “However I understood why.”

Mendez also attended to a briefly simmering debate from the occasion that stemmed from Nurmagomedov’s weigh-ins.

On Thursday early morning, one day prior to the weigh-ins, Mendez said Nurmagomedov weighed, 161 pounds, or six pounds from the 155- pound mark required of the title battle. The group was going to do a 2nd weight cut on Thursday night, but Nurmagomedov said he was instead going to wake up early on Friday early morning and cut the staying weight. Mendez didn’t go to the weight-cutting session– he doesn’t do so in basic– and after getting a favorable report from Nurmagomedov’s teammates, he started getting calls about a prospective problem on the scale.

” I’m like, what the hell are individuals talking about? He was right on point,” Mendez said. “There’s no chance something went wrong. And after that I viewed the weigh-in, and the guys that were doing the scale thing, guy, those men were speedy Gonzales? What the hell were they doing? That was so damn quick the method they did that. I would believe something’s up myself, personally.

” If you enjoy [the weigh-in], which I did watch, Khabib grabbed both of those guys hands, he steps on the scale, and as soon as he launches his hands, the guys are like already. Why ‘d they go so fast with the scale?

Mendez stated a close review of the video shows Nurmagomedov was on weight, but confesses the episode “did look suspicious.” The duty for the bad appearance, however, rests with the weigh-in authorities, not Nurmagomedov.

” They weigh you before you go to the weigh-ins; they weigh you right prior to you go out. No. 2, if Khabib was having problems with weight, why the hell would he be the first one understanding they’re going to weigh him?

In the end, the lightweight title battle was accredited, and Nurmagomedov went on to have a brilliant efficiency versus Gaethje. If it’s the last one the world sees, Mendez stated he’s great with that; he hasn’t spoken to the champ about the decision and will not because he respects his fighter.

” This sport is not a durability sport,” he said. Myself, I would have liked to have actually seen him go 30 -0, like his father wished.

” If he hung on for one more battle, it would have been a beast payday. It’s all exclusively due to the fact that of Khabib.

Moving forward, the coach prepares to work with Nurmagomedov as a fellow coach, forming up-and-coming talent. However he does not anticipate the champ will alter his mind about leaving the sport as a fighter.

” He’s never ever been somebody that said something and not suggested it,” Mendez said. “For me, I ‘d have to say that part’s done. Anything’s possible. As much the fans and myself as a coach would enjoy to have him back, no, I believe he’s done. And you’re not going to get me to convince him otherwise.”

Take a look at the full interview:

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