Javier Mendez Talks Khabib’s Retirement, Poirier vs McGregor
American Kickboxing Academy founder and head coach Javier Mendez, has shared his thoughts on Khabib Nurmagomedov’s fighting future, and the blockbuster UFC 257 rematch between Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor.
Khabib retired from MMA after successfully defending his lightweight crown against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254, and has repeatedly stated that he doesn’t plan on fighting again. Mendez, who is one of the closest people to the undefeated champion, believes that only one name could lure the Dagestani into a return to the Octagon.
Speaking on the Schmozone podcast (as transcribed by MMA Fighting), Mendez said that the UFC needs to offer Khabib something special if they want to see him fight again.
“I don’t know, because we never talked about it, but I can only tell you this. His father, his vision was for Khabib to fight GSP and retire at 30-0,” Mendez said. “So if Dana knows anything to do with anything, it isn’t a boatload of money because I don’t believe that’s gonna be the case. It would be something to the effect of something that very much interests him. So maybe a GSP fight. I don’t know, I’m guessing.
“But in order for that to happen, he’d have to go to the number one person that he promised he would retire [to], and that would be his mother, not me. I’m on board for whatever he wants to do. So he’d have to clear it with his mother if he wants to do anything.”
But given that Khabib is considered a man of his word, Mendez hinted that it might be very possible that his second round submission win over Gaethje was his last fight.
“I can only go by what’s in the media and what he’s been saying,” Mendez continued. “When have we known him to not do what he’s said? I don’t know, I can’t recall a time he’s said something and didn’t mean it.”
Poirier Deserve Title Fight
Khabib is set to meet UFC president Dana White next month in Abu Dhabi to discuss his future. If ‘The Eagle’ is truly done with the sport, Mendez is of the view that Poirier is the rightful person to fight for the lightweight title next.
“Let’s face it, if in fact he’s not coming back, and we know that for a fact – and I don’t know that – but if in fact he’s not, then the rightful person that should be fighting for the title is Dustin against anybody,” Mendez said. “So to me, they got one of the right persons in there. Conor would be the second right one, or it could be Justin Gaethje or it could be Michael Chandler. It doesn’t matter. Or [Charles] Oliveira. What matters is that Dustin is in the title hunt because he’s the one that, in my opinion, is most deserving of a title shot.”
Dustin Poirier vs Conor McGregor
The AKA spearhead also shared his thoughts on the highly anticipated rematch between Poirier and McGregor next month in the UFC 257 main event, favouring the Irishman due to his precision striking.
“I favour Conor because he’s the better precision striker, and taking Conor to the ground is going to be no easy task for Dustin,” Mendez opined. “So Dustin is going to have to grit it out, get inside and grind it out if he’s able to. Anything is possible, they’re both world class athletes, but I definitely favour Conor because of the striking aspect. He’s the master striker in the lightweight division. So I favour Conor, but I’m not counting out Dustin by any means.”
Would you like to see Khabib Nurmagomedov return for one more fight against Georges St-Pierre? Or perhaps against the winner of Dustin Poirier vs Conor McGregor?