"His overall game is slightly better than Khabib's" - Javier Mendez tips Islam Makhachev for greatness

Islam Makhachev and Khabib Nurmagomedov
Islam Makhachev and Khabib Nurmagomedov

Rising UFC lightweight prospect Islam Makhachev has gained praise from AKA coach Javier Mendez, who has also trained Khabib Nurmagomedov. Javier Mendez believes that Islam Makhachev possesses a more well-rounded game than Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Khabib Nurmagomedov himself believes that fellow Dagestani lightweight, Islam Makhachev, will be the next big thing in the UFC's most stacked division. The confidence that 'The Eagle' shows in his friend, along with the bond that the two share, inevitably leads fans to ask one question: Will Islam Makhachev be the next Khabib Nurmagomedov?

Only time will tell if Makhachev will scale the heights that Nurmagomedov has. However, Javier Mendes believes the Dagestani has the makings of one of the best of all time. In an interview with Niall McGrath, Javier Mendez said:

"His (Islam Makhachev's) overall game is slightly better than Khabib's - the stand-up, the kicking, and the ground. Remember, Islam is a two-time Sambo champion, and not just recently, too. He's accomplished what Khabib has accomplished. Islam has adapted to the striking quicker than Khabib, being that Khabib will only train striking when he's with me. And Khabib didn't even like to kick very much very end of the last two camps. [That's when] he started getting up the kick."

Coach Javier Mendez says fighters are avoiding Islam Makhachev

Although Javier Mendez believes Islam Makhachev is right up there with the elite, he stated that Khabib Nurmagomedov remains the best fighter he ever trained:

"I don't think there is ever going to be another Khabib. Personally, I think he's the greatest I've been involved with, not because of his physical ability, but because of his mental strength."

Islam Makhachev is currently the tenth-ranked lightweight competitor in the UFC. Despite breaking into the top ten and being on a remarkable seven-fight win streak in the promotion, the UFC have paired Islam Makhachev with Thiago Moises (unranked) to fight on the UFC card on July 17.

Javier Mendez believes that such a situation is only possible because fighters in the top-10 are avoiding Islam Makhachev. He said:

"Islam has to take care of him [Thiago Moises] like he did Drew Dober. Then, they [ranked fighters] are going to have no choice but to fight him... this has nothing to do with the UFC. This has something to do with the situation, and some of the fighters actually not wanting to fight him. 100%. You can't be that many fights in the UFC... and not get a big push."

Do you agree that Islam Makhachev is being avoided by the top-ranked fighters? Let us know in the comments section!

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Edited by Utathya Ghosh
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