A recent post on Javier Mendez Podcast's Instagram account revealed that both Javier Mendez and Khabib Nurmagomedov will be on the other side of the cage. The post implied that Khabib will be a part of the team of coaches at American Kickboxing Academy, the San Jose-based MMA gym that Khabib Nurmagomedov has trained with since mid-2014.
"The journey between @khabib_nurmagomedov and @akajav will continue both being on the other side of the cage together this time :) We are proud that Khabib has chosen a good path moving forward. It has been a privilege to film this great man and capture history as it happened. This is a photo from #khabibs fight camp at #nassportsdubai where Khabib went on to win his final fight before retiring," Javier Mendez wrote.
Khabib Nurmagomedov's longtime teammate, training partner, and close friend Islam Makhachev also trains at AKA and is perceived as a potential future UFC champion. Khabib Nurmagomedov was seen in Islam Makhachev's corner during the latter's UFC 259 showdown against Drew Dober in March 2021.
Khabib Nurmagomedov is one of the many dominant fighters produced by AKA
American Kickboxing Academy has been home to many dominant UFC fighters and champions over the last decade and a half and Khabib Nurmagomedov is arguably the most famous among those fighters.
Long before Khabib's emergence on the UFC horizon, the camp was represented by fighters like Frank Shamrock, Josh Thomson, Sean Sherk, Jon Fitch, Cain Velasquez, Luke Rockhold, and Daniel Cormier to name a few. All of these fighters have held multiple titles in the UFC and other notable MMA promotions like Strikeforce and World Series of Fighting.
The camp is notorious for its rigorous training regimens and even received negative publicity a few years back due to frequent bout cancelations of its fighters due to training-related injuries. However, the instances have significantly reduced since then.
Khabib Nurmagomedov had a rough start with AKA in 2014. The Dagestan native suffered a series of injuries following his move to the camp and was unable to compete for two years after the transition. Frustrated by the recurring injuries, the Eagle even contemplated retirement from MMA in 2015. However, he was able to turn things around to make a successful return in April 2016 and the rest is history.