Khabib Nurmagomedov’s trainer Javier Mendez: “Either Conor McGregor doesn’t want to fight or something’s up”

Khabib Nurmagomedov’s trainer Javier Mendez is back with his opinion on the ‘Mcgregor vs Chandler Debacle,’ The secret to Khabib Nurmagomedov’s serious mental edge over his opponents and favourites Charles Oliveira to beat Islam Makhachev in their rematch.

Speaking to Grosvenor Sport, Khabib Nurmagomedov’s trainer Javier Mendez said:

  • Either Conor McGregor doesn’t want to fight or something’s up
  • Michael Chandler will KO McGregor – I’ll never root for him
  • Khabib really does wrestle bears in training – but they are trained and not wild
  • ‘Superior’ Jon Jones to beat Francis Ngannou
  • Nate Diaz will bring ‘savagery’ against Jake Paul – but YouTuber has advantages
  • Yair Rodriguez to be the first man to defeat Volkanovski at featherweight
  • Charles Oliveira favourite for Islam Makhachev rematch

Either Conor McGregor doesn’t want to fight or something’s up

I think Conor McGregor vs Michael Chandler happens if Conor joins USADA. But from what I heard he hasn’t joined USADA. So why hasn’t he joined USADA? Only he can answer that question. 

It says to me only two things: there’s a reason why you’re delaying it, or maybe you just don’t want to fight. I don’t know the truth behind it. There’s allegedly one reason why you would avoid USADA – because if you’re going to test positive you’re not going to join. But what if he actually does not want to fight? That could be the other reason too, it’s one of those reasons.  I’m not going to say he’s done this or that – I don’t know that. It could be that he just doesn’t want to fight. That could be 100 percent the reason. Only he can answer that.

Chandler would KO McGregor – I’ll never root for him

I can only give you two reasons why someone wouldn’t join USADA. Or is there something else behind it? Is it an injury? But then why wouldn’t you join USADA? You would. So that’s why I say, you either don’t want to fight or something’s up. If the fight does happen I’m picking Chandler by KO. I’ll go against that other guy every single time. I’m a ‘fat arse kickboxer’ according to him. So I’ll never root for him. 

Wrestling bears gave Khabib ‘incredible mental edge’

Those bears you see in the videos in Dagestan are trained to wrestle, so Khabib isn’t wrestling with a wild bear. If you watch the video with Khabib, there’s also a part where a full grown adult wrestles with a full grown bear, it’s kind of funny to watch. But these bears are actually trained to wrestle and they’re trained not to hurt you. 

And what Khabib told me about bears is that they train them to wrestle, but as they get older and bigger they let them out into the wild and let them go, they don’t keep them. I think growing up wrestling bears gives you a stronger mentality, it’s an incredible mentally edge to have beaten a bear. 

Conor McGregor convinced Khabib to stay in retirement 

After Khabib retired they were still testing them. Dana White didn’t remove Khabib from the testing pool after he retired because he still hoped Khabib would fight again, but then Khabib had enough of being tested, so he told Dana he didn’t want to test anymore and that he’s not coming back. He was roughly tested for about eight months before he had enough. 

The UFC were trying to get him to come back and he came close. You saw it when we were in Abu Dhabi. He said ‘if someone shows me something spectacular then maybe I’ll come back.’ It was Conor v Poirier that night, but it did not get Khabib excited. He said if something excited me on that card then maybe I’ll consider it. But it never happened. The UFC was pushing him, but nothing excited him, so it was no go.

‘Superior’ Jon Jones to beat Francis Ngannou

There is a reason why Jon Jones took three years out – to specifically train for a move up to heavyweight. The guy is very intelligent, he takes things seriously, he doesn’t take any chances on wanting to lose. He’s a winner and he will do anything he needs to do to win and in this case he’s taken time to put the weight on properly. 

Jones’s technical aspect is superior to Ngannou. Ngannou has the power to knock anyone out but I give the edge to Jones based on an overall technical aspect. He’s one of the greatest for a reason. He dissects you and knows how to take you apart. Do you remember when he was scheduled to fight Belfort and then Chael Sonnen stepped in on short notice and Jones said ‘nope not fighting him’ because he wasn’t prepared for him. But even though Chael was an easier fight, he turned it down. That’s what you get when you’re dealing with Jones, a professional in the fight game in every aspect. 

Nate Diaz will bring ‘savagery’ against Jake Paul – but YouTuber has advantages

I don’t know how much Nate has left, that’s left to be determined. He’s got the skills and experience to deal with Jake. What people don’t realise is Diaz through the majority of his career was boxing with the great Andre Ward, purely boxing. So it’s not like Nate is unfamiliar with boxing. 

You think Ward would spar Nate if it wasn’t valuable for him? Nate can box. But the size and power advantage will go to Jake. But the experience and the savagery will go to Diaz. Don’t ever count Diaz out. You can never count him out. I want Diaz to win, but I don’t know who wins. 

Yair Rodriquez to be the first man to defeat Volkanovski at featherweight

That’s a tough fight to call. Volkanovski will be the favourite but can Rodriguez pull his speciality techniques to make the upset happen, it’s possible. It’s 100 percent possible that he could pull the upset. But I don’t know if he can. Volkanovski is favourite, he’s got many reasons for wanting to continue his reign at featherweight, but you can’t count Rodriguez out. 

He has plenty of things that make him special. He has a special type of technique. Rodriguez can be very effective against Volkanovski. He can be very effective against any striker if you give him enough opportunities in the stand up. The longer it stays standing, the more opportunities he’s going to have. I know Yair, he’s a great guy, and I’m going with Yair. It would be nice if he did it with one of his question mark kicks but I don’t know. Pulling off the win is going to be tough.

Charles Oliveira favourite for Islam Makhachev rematch, but it could be Volkanovski rematch if the fans demand it 

There’s a strong possibility that Islam rematches Volkanovski, but after Islam’s faced Charles Oliveira first. I think the UFC is waiting to see if that’s where the excitement is. I think the UFC is waiting to see what makes the most money. That is why the UFC are at the top because they give the fans what they want. 

So right now Charles is the leader to get the Islam fight but you never know. Things could change. Everyone could be jumping up and down for the Islam-Volkanovski rematch if he wins. But I don’t care. Islam doesn’t care. When you are champion, whoever the UFC puts in front of you, you should fight. 

Khabib gives “greatest boost” as cornerman but he’s putting his family first. 

He’s still helping but with the exception of being there in person in camp. He’s not obligating himself to that, his family comes first. As an example, he was with us for the majority of Abubakar’s last fight. He was with us in training camp, he just wasn’t at the fights. With Islam Makachev, he was not in camp, but he was on the phone everyday talking to him. I’m training Umar again and it’s the same thing. 

He’s going to continue to support forever, but actually going to the fights and making a commitment to be away from his family, I don’t see it. I’d love him to be in the corner – having him in the corner is the greatest boost that the guys can get – and because he’s known them since they were kids, he knows them better than I do, so for that reason he’s a better corner man than I am because he’s an inspiration for those guys. Not that I can’t get the job done, but it makes my job much easier.