Islam Makhachev’s coach, Javier Mendez, doesn’t think that Khabib Nurmagomedov’s absence in his charge’s corner will affect the outcome of the duel against Alexander Volkanovski, which will take place this weekend in Australia.
“The fact that Khabib is not with us does not mean that he is not with us on the phone,” the American specialist said in an interview with the channel “Ushatayka”. “He always communicates with us, constantly in touch. It was the same when I trained Khabib – his father was not with us in San Jose, but Khabib was still in touch with him. Father’s advice was important to Khabib, so it was important to keep in touch with him, albeit on the phone.
“The same thing is happening now between Islam and Khabib. Khabib will not be in this fight, but people don’t understand one thing – Umar was prepared for the last fight only by me and his sparring partner Kasum Kasumov, and Umar looked amazing. And when Usman won the Bellator championship, Khabib was gone too. He was in touch with us on the phone, but he was not with us in the corner.”
“What effect will his absence have on the battle of Islam? Khabib is the biggest star and authority figure for these guys, but that doesn’t mean he has to be with them forever for them to succeed. We have proven this many times and will prove it again. We don’t need Khabib to win, but he is in our hearts, heads and also in our phones. Consider that Khabib is with us “
Also, the head of the American Kickboxing Academy shared his expectations from the upcoming fight.
“I want them to fight the whole distance, because mentally you have to tune in for all five rounds. I do not exclude an early victory in the initial rounds, but I do not think that this will happen. I’m always set for five rounds. Khabib can say that Makhachev will finish Volkanovski, Islam can say that he will finish this guy, but I will say that I am preparing for all five rounds, because I don’t want to lose sight of anything. ”
Recall that the title superfight, in which the Russian fighter will put the UFC lightweight championship belt on the line, will head the UFC 284 tournament in Perth on February 11.