American Kickboxing Academy head coach Javier Mendez claims former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is on track to becoming ‘the greatest coach of all time’.
Nurmagomedov, widely considered the greatest lightweight fighter of all time, shifted his attention to coaching following his retirement in 2020 and has followed in his father’s footsteps ever since.
Mendez formerly coached Khabib at AKA and says it has been a real pleasure to watch his former student give back to the MMA community in the form of coaching and that ‘The Eagle’ has taken a real shine to it.
Mendez not only believes Khabib is a natural but that the Dagestani has the potential to be one of the greatest coaches in the world, as evidenced by his mentorship of Islam Makhachev, Umar Nurmagomedov, and Usman Nurmagomedov, all of whom are tipped as future champions.
“He’s been coaching forever. Even when he was fighting, he was coaching. He’d be sparring through these five rounds and all of a sudden he’d be sitting there with us coaching the guys,” Mendez, who now works alongside Khabib at AKA, said on the UFC unfiltered podcast (h/t BJPenn.com).
“He’s been doing that forever. His father had trained him from such a young age to take the responsibility over, as a fighter, as a coach, and he’s taking over his father’s footsteps. He’s learned from me, he’s learned from his father, mostly his father. But to me, he’s on track, in my opinion, because of his age, what he’s doing, the camp I see, the fighters he has, he’s on track to being the greatest coach of all time, in my opinion. I see it. I see the writing on the wall.”
Khabib’s No. 1 protege Makhachev will take on Charles Oliveira for the vacant lightweight championship at UFC 280, with the former tipped as the favorite to clinch the title. UFC 280: Oliveira vs. Makhachev takes place next Saturday, Oct. 22, at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
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