I’ll give credit to American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) head coach Javier Mendez, he’s not going to bullshit himself, his fighter, or the mixed martial arts (MMA) community as we head into the UFC 229 pay-per-view (PPV) event next month in Las Vegas.
That’s where Khabib Nurmagomedov will defend his lightweight title against former 155-pound kingpin Conor McGregor, who is widely regarded as one of the best strikers and most brutal knockout artists in the entire sport.
Not surprisingly, Mendez wants Nurmagomedov to stick to the grappling gameplan and not go rogue like he did in his not-crappy jab-a-thon against Al Iaquinta at UFC 223 back in April, because one mistake on the feet and “Notorious” will have him sleeping.
“To me [Conor McGregor] is the best standup guy in the whole UFC, in my opinion,” Mendez told the Eurobash podcast (via MMA Fighting). “There’s no amount of time that we have that’s going to help us to try and get him to stand up, there’s no way possible. So, I’m not gonna say, ‘Oh yeah, we’re gonna get him ready’… come on…wake up…it ain’t gonna work. I want nothing to do with Conor’s stand-up…he’s too good.”
McGregor (21-3) has 18 knockouts in 21 wins; however, his three losses came by way of submission and Nurmagomedov (26-0) — who has 16 finishes of his own — is considered the most dangerous ground fighter in the division.
That means the “Notorious” camp will be equally scared of “The Eagle’s” takedowns in what is being billed as the classic “striker vs. grappler” match up. Since every fight starts on the feet, McGregor will open with the advantage.
Assuming he’s not too rusty from his two-year layoff.