Ahead of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s first UFC title defence, his coach at AKA, Javier Mendez, has explained what they need to be wary of when it comes to Conor McGregor.
Khabib is getting ready for the biggest fight of his life as we speak but knowing what we know of him, he’s the type of athlete that has the mental strength necessary to rise to the occasion.
The same, of course, applies to McGregor. Conor is built for the big stages and has seen these bright lights before but he himself will no doubt know that this is perhaps the greatest test of his mixed martial arts career to date.
Nurmagomedov’s coach made it clear recently that he and his team feel the same way about Conor and are taking the necessary measures to ensure that they are well-prepped by the time UFC 229 comes around.
Speaking to Ariel Helwani on the latest edition of Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show, Mendez outlined his concerns about the skillset of the Irishman and how they must be completely on the ball to avoid his patented left-hand shot.
“There is no gameplan. We can’t stand with him, we’re gonna lose that one for sure but keep in mind that Khabib can hurt him the standup too – but, in route of doing what he needs to do.
“If he stands with him, we’re losing that all-day long, we’re not winning that one at all.
“He has great power, great timing, great relaxation. It’s just the timing thing that concerns me early on. He’s very good off-the-bat.
“Whoever screws up is going to get a bad end with this one, so my job is to make sure that Khabib is on point because we can’t screw up.
“He’s too dangerous.”
Even these little conversations will do wonders at building the anticipation for this classic striker-versus-grappler showdown.
When October 6 comes around, though, and that arena fills up in Las Vegas, expect this to become something else entirely.