American Kickboxing Academy head coach Javier Mendez is not sure who will get the lightweight title shot between Islam Makhachev and Justin Gaethje.
Mendez has been coaching and singing the praises of Makhachev for a while, even starting the rumors that he is better than his close friend and former lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov. With these two vouching for him, Makhachev has gotten something of the fast track through the UFC rankings, securing a place in the top five before he even took out a top-ten opponent.
With Makhachev securing a quick win over Dan Hooker and Justin Gaethje scoring a victory in a war with Michael Chandler, there has been a bit of a debate on which of these two deserves the title shot. While speaking on his podcast, Mendez says that he is not sure who will end up getting the title shot, but the UFC is going to decide based on who brings in the most money, as they usually do.
“If the fans want it, the UFC will put it on. It’s a matter of not what coach thinks, not what Justin [Gaethje] thinks – It’s what makes the most money. And if it’s Justin that makes the most money for the UFC, that’s who’s gonna get it. The UFC is not making decisions based on anything but what fits in their pocketbook,” Mendez said (h/t Sportskeeda).
After this, Javier Mendez directed his attention to the way that the UFC runs things, saying that they are not a real promotion. He says this is the case in all MMA organizations though, not holding anything against the UFC in particular.
“That’s what they do. And you know what, it’s not a legit promotion; no promotion is. No fight promotion is legit. None. So, don’t think I’m bashing on one or the other. I’m not bashing on anyone. I just understand how promotion does, and what they do, and what they have to do,” Mendez said.
“The UFC is a great promotion, but that’s the politics of the game. And Bellator is a great promotion, but if they were in pay-per-view, that’s the politics of the game for them, too. That’s just the way it goes. Not bashing anybody; just stating facts.”
The point that Javier Mendez seems to be making here, is that there are good reasons for both Islam Makhachev and Justin Gaethje to get the title shot. However, in the end, the UFC will do whatever they think is best for the promotion.
Check out the full podcast in the video below: