While the future of the most prominent fighter in the Nurmagomedov clan remains unsolved for the time being, AKA head coach Javier Mendez says some significant talent has come off the family’s assembly line.
After a couple of false starts, the undefeated Umar Nurmagomedov will finally make his UFC debut on ‘Fight Island’ against Kazakh star Sergey Morozov this Wednesday.
And the man who is supposed to lead the rise of the young bantamweight in major MMA leagues, American Kickboxing Academy’s coach Javier Mendez says Umar has the skills to properly portray his famous fight name.
“Umar is great, I expect he will be world champion in five or six fights,” Mendez said ahead of the second of three fight tickets to RT Sport in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
“But he’s completely different from Khabib. The way he fights he’s more of a striker type. But he can do everything, he can do everything.”
That is certainly kudos from one of the sport’s most famous coaches and the man who, along with Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, has brought Khabib’s career to legendary status.
But Mendez makes it clear that he and his esteemed family member Usman Nurmagomedov (who signed for rival Bellator) will barely be able to outperform the undefeated UFC lightweight champion like Umar.
“I never said they (Umar and Usman) were better (than Khabib),” Mendez explained. “When I say“ gifted ”it doesn’t mean any better. Khabib is the best that ever was, and it could be the best that ever was. Being the most gifted doesn’t mean the best that ever was. Me think Khabib is the best ever. “
There can only be one “best,” says Mendez, and while that title can appropriately be applied to Khabib, he says Umar and Usman’s accomplishments in mixed martial arts will matter.
“They become champions, but we’ll see if they are better than (Khabib) because Khabib is pretty amazing,” added Mendez. “I can say they are better kickers or boxers, I don’t know if they are better ground guys than him or as strong in their heads. Umar is the one who is closest mentally, he’s quite strong mentally.”
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