Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Coach Teases Return of One of His Champions

Published 05/01/2021, 7:47 AM EDT


The American Kickboxing Academy coach, Javier Mendez, is regarded as one of the best coaches in the business. Former UFC champions like B. J. Penn, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Daniel Cormier, Cain Velasquez, Miesha Tate, and Luke Rockhold are some of the alumni of his academy. Recently, the legendary coach sat down for an interview with Helen Yee and teased a return of one of his former champions.

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The coach said, “There is a surprise coming with somebody coming up soon and something. Somebody that was one of my champs, somebody big.” Unfortunately, he was not quite willing to reveal the identity of that person.

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Some kind of return somebody. I don’t know who it is. Might be my brother,” Mendez added jokingly. It remains unclear as to which champion Mendez was talking about. Nevertheless, fans’ anticipation will be at an all-time high following his statement.

Miesha Tate is set to return later this year, bringing an end to her retirement. Khabib Nurmagomedov, Daniel Cormier, and Cain Velasquez are retired. Furthermore, former UFC middleweight champion, Luke Rockhold, is also preparing for his return to the Octagon.

NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 11: Miesha Tate reacts during UFC 205 Weigh-ins at Madison Square Garden on November 11, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

So, one can leave those fighters out of contention. The likes of former UFC champion B. J. Penn, and Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh Thomson, are some of the other former champions from AKA. Hence, it remains to be seen if Mendez was hinting at either of these names.

Javier Mendez praises Khabib Nurmagomedov as a coach

Nurmagomedov is certainly the biggest superstar Mendez has coached. ‘The Eagle’ announced retirement after his successful title defense at UFC 254. He is currently acting as a coach and mentor for other fighters of his gym. The likes of Rockhold and Islam Makhachev are under the Dagestani’s thorough guidance.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 06: Khabib Nurmagomedov interacts with media during the UFC 249 press conference at T-Mobile Arena on March 06, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Mendez thinks he is still the main mentor for all of his fighters, but he also acknowledged Nurmagomedov is doing an excellent job in helping his peers. Considering how methodical the undefeated Russian was throughout his career, his dedication shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. However, his coach has got the fans guessing with his latest revelation.

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Which fighter was Javier Mendez referring to here? Let us know what you think.

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Apratim Banerjee

705 articles

Apratim Banerjee is an MMA author for EssentiallySports and has been writing professionally for almost a year. Before his current gig, Apratim worked as a UFC writer for Sportskeeda. A long-time MMA fan, Apratim has developed a critical eye for the sport that has helped him transfer his vast knowledge to his copies and give hardcore and casual readers a detailed insight into the fights and fighters.

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