Coach Javier Mendez has trained a myriad of students, including several UFC champions, at the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA).
Established in 1985, AKA is being hailed as one of the best MMA camps in the world. The gym has produced many top-tier fighters and world champions. These include former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, former UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold, and former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Needless to say, Javier Mendez possesses a wealth of experience when it comes to assessing a fighter’s strengths and weaknesses. On that note, the coach recently put forth an interesting statement regarding reigning UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou.
During a recent live Q&A session on his official JavierMendezAKAPodcast YouTube channel, the 50-year-old was asked who has the most dangerous stand-up fighting (striking) skills in the UFC. He responded by stating:
“(Francis) Ngannou. Yeah, one shot takes you out.”
Mendez went on to say that Ngannou isn’t necessarily the most polished striker in the UFC, but he is indeed the most dangerous. The veteran AKA coach said:
“They said the most dangerous. They didn’t say most polished. So, most dangerous is Ngannou. He hits the hardest I’ve ever seen anybody hit.” (*Video courtesy: JavierMendezAKAPodcast YouTube channel; H/T Sportskeeda for the transcription)
Javier Mendez is no stranger to Francis Ngannou. One of his most famous students, Cain Velasquez, faced Ngannou in a pivotal heavyweight matchup back in 2019.
Velasquez, a former UFC heavyweight champion, was returning from an injury layoff and was looking to work his way back to the title. However, ‘Cardio Cain’ was unable to get past ‘The Predator’ when they faced off inside the octagon.
Francis Ngannou secured a spectacular first-round stoppage victory over Velasquez, beating him via KO at UFC on ESPN: Ngannou vs. Velasquez in February 2019.
Francis Ngannou will face Ciryl Gane in a UFC heavyweight title unification fight
Ngannou holds the UFC heavyweight title, while Gane holds the interim UFC heavyweight title.
The former training partners are expected to fight each other next, with the winner set to walk away as the undisputed UFC heavyweight champion.
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