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Khabib Nurmagomedov's coach claims Conor McGregor was hardest opponent - not Justin Gaethje

UFC Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov
UFC Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov
Modified 15 Oct 2020, 16:31 IST

Khabib Nurmagomedov's coach Javier Mendez feels Conor McGregor is the best fighter his pupil Khabib has faced in the Octagon. The Lightweight champion defeated McGregor back in 2018, retaining his championship. 

Speaking to Submission Radio Javier Mendez said:

Right now I rank Justin Gaethje second, behind Conor in the opponents Kahbib has had. But, I could be wrong on that, he could be more dangerous than Conor. Conor's precision striking, to me he's the best striker ever in the Lightweight division.
Gaethje with his wrestling, he creates big problems. Justin's power, his guts, he's coming to fight, he's not running from you. If you're not fighting him you can't win against him. I am only ranking him number two due to the unknown. If we can take him down, he won't be number one, Conor is. But, what if we can't take him down? Then, obviously, he takes that number one spot.

Conor McGregor the best fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov has faced, says coach

Khabib Nurmagomedov is undoubtedly one of the most dominant champions in UFC history. The Russian is undefeated in 12 UFC fights; a rare statistic in the company, let alone the Lightweight division. 

Justin Gaethje is due to take on the champion on October 24th in the main event of UFC 254 in Fight Island, Abu Dhabi. According to many experts, the American might be the most difficult stylistic matchup for Khabib, due to his wrestling credentials. 

Justin Gaethje of the United States
Justin Gaethje of the United States

However, the Russian Combat Sambo Champion has managed to take down all of his opponents so far in his career. So it'll be interesting to see if Gaethje can force a stand-up battle with the champion, where he might have an advantage. 


Gaethje has finished each of his last four opponents in James Vick, Edson Barboza, Donald Cerrone and Tony Ferguson. The NCAA Division I wrestler has evolved from his brawling style to a more measured counter-punching style since the two losses to Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier in his UFC career. 

Khabib has hinted he wants to retire at 30-0 and has called out Georges St-Pierre for a potential retirement fight next year. 

Published 15 Oct 2020, 16:31 IST
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