“He Is Mean” – Coach Javier Mendez Talks About the Main Difference Between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Islam Makhachev

Published 08/11/2021, 11:40 PM EDT


When it comes to comparing a rising superstar to a UFC legend, Islam Makhachev and Khabib Nurmagomedov are the most talked-about pair. It is one of the most intriguing debates in which UFC fans always share their opinion. 

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Nurmagomedov and Makhachev share the same gym, the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA), in San Jose, California. Moreover, the pair have been training together since childhood under the tutelage of Nurmagomedov’s late father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov. 

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Before the ‘Eagle’ retired, the pair also shared the same coaches, namely Javier Mendez of AKA. As a result, the pair shares a similar skill set. Thus, the comparison between them is one of the most talked-about topics in the UFC lightweight division.

On a podcast episode of the ‘Real Quick With Mike Swick Podcast’, coach Mendez shared his point of view on this comparison. As he has coached both of them, he is the right person to shed some light on what separates Nurmagomedov and Makhachev.

Mendez said – “Khabib… is meaner. He is mean… Khabib’s like this, when he controls you, it’s kinda like his whole body controls you. His legs, his toes, his arms, everything locks on to you, you know. Islam is a little slightly different approach.”

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“But with Khabib, it’s just like, you feel like every part of his body is preventing you. And he knows what you are going to do next. He has already got the counter to the counter. He is ahead of you.”

“Islam is a little bit smoother in how he does these transitions. But they are both unbelievable on the ground.” 

Is Islam Makhachev as good as Khabib Nurmagomedov?

Makhachev has a spectacular professional MMA record of 20-1. Akin to the ‘Eagle’, he is an elite submission grappler with 9 submission stoppages. Moreover, he holds notable victories over elite MMA athletes, such as Nik Lentz, Thiago Moises, and more.

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As of August 2021, Makhachev sits at the #5 position in the UFC lightweight rankings. As a result, he is probably two to four consecutive wins away from landing himself a title shot.

At this point in his career, Makhachev is on top of his game. However, he still has to face a lot of competition to claim the UFC lightweight throne. Nevertheless, he is still one of the best active UFC lightweight contenders.

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What do you make of what Javier Mendez had to say about what separates Khabib Nurmagomedov from Islam Makhachev?

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Arman Khan

146 articles

Arman Khan is a UFC author for EssentiallySports. He began following combat sports when Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor competed in 'The Money Fight' in 2017. 'The Notorious' attracted Arman to the UFC and he became an ardent fan of professional fighting as he could draw parallels with the action from his combat sports experience and break down techniques such as striking and striking defense lucidly for the casual fans.

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