Javier Mendez trained Khabib Nurmagomedov for more than eight years. The American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) founder shares a strong bond with the Dagestani, and it is evident that the duo have plenty of fun stories about each other.
In a recent interview with Helen Yee Sports, Mendez recalled one such incident. He said:
"He's (Khabib Nurmagomedov) been telling me things lately how we don't understand each other. It started when we first started training. When he first came to me, and I go, 'This guy is unbelievable. He's killing everybody, but damn it! He doesn't listen.' I go, 'If he could just listen, he'd be so good. He could be one of the greatest'. That's what I was thinking in my mind," said Mendez.
According to Mendez, he would often ask Nurmagomedov to relax and not go ballistic while training. However, the Dagestani fighter misunderstood Mendez's instructions. When Nurmagomedov embellished his English-speaking skills, he approached Mendez to clear the confusion.
"He learned a little bit better English and he says to me, 'Coach, I have to explain. When refers come, I don't understand. You say 'relax', and I always think 'go harder'. So, I go crazy and try to kill people," Mendez added.
When Khabib Nurmagomedov almost ended Javier Mendez's coaching career
Ahead of Khabib Nurmagomedov's scheduled fight against Tony Ferguson at UFC 209, 'The Eagle' nearly put an end to Javier Mendez's coaching career. During an open workout session, Nurmagomedov used one of his symbolic takedown moves on Mendez.
In his effort to do so, he almost shoved Mendez off the stage, which could have possibly ended his coaching career, the AKA founder said in an Instagram post.
Nurmagomedov joined AKA in August 2012 along with fellow lightweight Islam Makhachev, who continues training with Mendez. The 50-year-old coach has also trained the likes of Daniel Cormier, Cain Velasquez, and Luke Rockhold.
During Khabib Nurmagomedov's eight-year stint at AKA, he never lost a fight in the UFC. The former lightweight champion won all 13 of his fights in the promotion, and defended his belt on three occasions.