Javier Mendez, who helps to coach Khabib Nurmagomedov at American Kickboxing Academy, believes it would be an ugly night for Conor McGregor if he was granted a rematch with the Dagestani champion.
Given the way things played out at UFC 257, where McGregor suffered a second-round KO defeat to Dustin Poirier in the evening’s main event, it’s not exactly the hottest of takes. However, Mendez has been on record as saying McGregor was . Now, he believes the Irish star has regressed considerably and a second bout with “The Eagle” would not be competitive. Nurmagomedov defeated McGregor via fourth-round submission in their first meeting at UFC 229 in October 2018.
“[McGregor] would’ve got smashed,” Mendez said in an interview with Submission Radio. “Khabib’s gotten better. He would’ve gotten smashed. He would have gotten smashed, straight up. Khabib’s better. He’s better than he was when they fought two years ago. Conor didn’t appear to be better. He’s regressed a little bit. Khabib’s gotten way better. He would have gotten smashed.”
Poirier’s calf kicks hindered McGregor tremendously, a point which the SBG Ireland representative acknowledged at the UFC 257 post-fight press conference. That allowed Poirier to track his opponent down and ultimately land the decisive punches near the fence in Round 2. McGregor was never able to adjust to check the kicks effectively.
“When I saw Dustin start going for the leg kicks, I go, ‘Oh my god, Conor’s stance is not made for checking properly leg kicks like that,” Mendez said. “Especially calf kicks. So, I thought that was going to be a major problem. And then when he hit Dustin with the good shot and Dustin took it, that’s when I kind of knew, ‘Oh boy, things are gonna change.’ And sure enough, they did. And it was a great game plan from Dustin to work the leg kicks, calf kicks. And it was a bad judgment on Conor’s part to not be prepared for that.
“I don’t understand how you cannot be prepared for something like that, when that’s what everyone’s going to. Khabib, I told him, I reminded him every day that Justin’s coming after your legs, Justin’s coming after your legs. Every day I was telling him that. And you would think that you would be reminded also because that’s a big weapon. Until fighters learn how to deal with it, it’s gonna be a big weapon, guys.”
The first meeting between Nurmagomedov and McGregor was the UFC’s highest-selling pay-per-view of all-time, and it’s no secret the promotion had designs on booking a rematch if McGregor had been victorious this past Saturday. With Nurmagomedov seemingly comfortable in retirement, it seems that ship has sailed for good.
“You’re never gonna get that rematch,” Mendez said. “Just like you’re never gonna get the Tony and Khabib fight. That’s never gonna happen either. It’s not gonna happen. I mean, Khabib doesn’t need it. He seems fulfilled. And like I said, I think the only juicy part for him is what his father wanted, GSP. I’ve said it many times. And who knows, maybe that’s out of the question now. Maybe GSP doesn’t want it, maybe Khabib don’t want it now. I don’t know, because I never talked to Khabib about what he wants, I’ve always listened to him.”