Khabib Nurmagomedov never appeared to be in any serious danger during his massive bout with Conor McGregor, but the lightweight champ’s striking coach still believes the “Notorious” one has the best chance of ending his reign.
The undefeated fighter faced McGregor last October at UFC 229, and as many expected would be the case, his vaunted wrestling and top game ruled the day. Although McGregor landed his fair share of strikes (the final tally was 208 to 192 in favor of Khabib), Nurmagomedov controlled much of the action before tapping the star out in round four.
Well, recently Khabib’s longtime coach, Javier Mendez, was asked to by Sports Daily.ru to break down who he thinks poses the biggest threat to the champ. Here’s reportedly what the AKA trainer had to say (quote via MMA News):
“Talking about four potential rivals for Khabib I can give my assessment from the [least] dangerous to the most dangerous. Max Holloway [would] be the easiest for Khabib. Max has good boxing but it lacks the power to the lightweight division. Next on the list is Dustin Poirier. He’s got stamina and versatility. Tony Ferguson is my second choice. His elbows are very dangerous. And finally [the] number one contender for me is still Conor. His boxing is special, that’s his chance.”
How about that? Now, Mendez has consistently heaped praise on the striking abilities of McGregor, so, because of that, maybe these comments won’t surprise some observers. But, it’s likely safe to say that most folks would pick Tony Ferguson out of that list, in terms of who poses the toughest test for Khabib.
Not only is Ferguson is a solid wrestler, he also has a ridiculously dangerous guard. So, the consensus is that Ferguson could pose some danger to Khabib on the ground, which every fight with the latter goes. Further, we’ve already seen McGregor was largely unable to counter Khabib’s grappling tools.
By all accounts, however, we’re going to actually see whether Poirier can end Khabib’s reign next.