Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Coach: Justin Gaethje Doesn’t Have Much of a Shot Against Champ


Following Justin Gaethje’s thumping, knockout at UFC Philadelphia, “The Highlight” opined that he’s the “toughest match-up” for Khabib Nurmagomedov. Well, since then, the lightweight champ’s coach has outlined why he doesn’t think the rugged fighter has much of a chance…

After Gaethje quickly took out Barboza on Saturday night, he went on to say that he believes he has the best chance of dethroning Nurmagomedov.  Well since then, the latter’s coach, Javier Mendez, appeared on “The MMA Hour”. When asked to weigh-in on Gaethje’s chances of handing Nurmagomedov his first zero, Mendez said this (quotes via MMA Fighting):

“Not much,” Mendez, said. “Not much, because he ain’t going to be able to stop the takedown. None of those guys can. [Nurmagomedov will] take them all down, and if they don’t have much of a ground game, they’re done.

“The only way it becomes interesting is if Khabib decides to do things. Look back on all his fights, it’s only when he decides to stand with people that it becomes a little bit trickier. I mean, he stood with Conor (McGregor) so he gave Conor a chance, and I’m begging for him, ‘Go back to father’s plan. Go back to father’s plan.’ He screws with me all the time. He did the same with Michael Johnson. I’m telling him, ‘What are you doing? Go back to father’s plan.’ Father’s plan, that’s what I call ‘just wrestle the guy, take him down and wrestle him.’ And he does that all the damn time.”

But what about Gaethje’s wrestling pedigree, which was honed in NCAA Division 1? Well, while discussing Khabib’s takedown game, Mendez said this:

“If he wants to take somebody down, he’ll take him down. I don’t care who it is. In his weight division, he’ll take them all down. And guess what? If they get back up, he’ll take them back down again. I’ve seen it too many times. I’ve never seen anybody like him and we’ll probably never see anybody like him again.”

There you have it. It’s certainly a compelling match-up to contemplate. Gaethje will likely need to score another win or two before facing Khabib (provided he stays the champ for the next year or so), is possible.

Nurmagomedov’s last outing took place in October, when he submitted Conor McGregor in round four.

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