Saturday, June 12, 2021

Coach: Conor McGregor Regressed & Khabib Would’ve Smashed Him

Coach Javier Mendez believes Conor McGregor was fortunate that it was not Khabib Nurmagomedov standing across from him at UFC 257.

Dustin Poirier was able to avenge his 2014 loss to Conor McGregor by handing McGregor the first TKO loss of his career. Poirier implemented a stellar gameplan and systemically broke down Conor McGregor’s right leg until the Irishman was defenseless against his finishing onslaught. McGregor gave credit where credit is due to Poirier for the effectiveness of his leg-kick strategy, but he also believes his time away from the Octagon played a large role in the outcome of the fight.

Conor McGregor had not competed since January 2020 in a fight that consisted of only 40 seconds of ring time when he knocked out Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at UFC 246. But Khabib’s head coach Javier Mendez believes the Conor McGregor the world saw in 2020 was different from the one witnessed at UFC 257 because of unnecessary changes made by McGregor.

“[Inactivity] does affect things, and that’s what he’s saying, but I also happen to know too that when you make changes in camp, when things weren’t broken, why change them?” Mendez told MMA Fighting. “I heard he went to Portugal, or something like that, to do training. But what was wrong with where he’s always trained? I don’t know. It looks like he made a lot of changes, and why change when things aren’t broken?”

Mendez Believes Khabib Would Have “Smashed” McGregor

Khabib Says Conor McGregor Is a Better Striker Than UFC Champ Justin  Gaethje | Bleacher Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights
UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov Prior to UFC 229. Image: John Locher/Associated Press

Conor McGregor’s first choice of opponent to kick off 2021 was a rematch against Khabib Nurmagomedov. Although McGregor was knocked out and had his right leg viciously abused, Mendez believes the outcome would have been much more one-sided than his fight against Poirier had he gotten his wish to fight Nurmagomedov instead.

“He would’ve got smashed,” Mendez said. “Khabib’s gotten better. He would’ve got smashed. He would have got smashed. Straight up. Khabib’s better. He’s better than he was when they fought two years ago. Conor didn’t appear to be better. He’s regressed a little bit. Khabib’s gotten way better. He would have gotten smashed.”

What are your thoughts on these comments from Khabib’s head coach Javier Mendez?