Javier Mendez believes that Conor McGregor hasn’t shown enough to deserve a fight with lightweight champion Islam Makhachev. The Russian, who is trained by Mendez, knocked out featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski in the first round of their rematch at UFC 294.
The Notorious’ last fight was over two years ago against Dustin Poirier. He lost via a stoppage between the first and second round after he suffered a gruesome leg injury during the first five minutes of the fight.
January 2020 was the last time that McGregor had his hand raised inside an octagon. He stopped Donal ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone in the first round in his first fight back since losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018.
Javier Mendez Explains Why Conor McGregor Doesn’t Deserve to Face Islam Makhachev
In an interview with Red Corner MMA, the AKA coach outlined why the Irishman facing the lightweight champion wouldn’t make sense, from a sporting perspective.
He said: “In terms of matchmaking, I don’t know if you can say from a real sport, and this is not a real sport, this is entertainment first. If it was a real sport, then Conor wouldn’t get the amount of opportunities he gets. So, from a real sport, no, he needs to show that he’s worthy.”
Makhachev’s win over the featherweight champion extended his MMA winning streak to 13. That’s three more wins than McGregor has had in his entire run with the UFC.
Despite Mendez not thinking that the former lightweight champion deserves a shot at the current one, he said that he can understand why it would happen from a commercial perspective.
“From an entertainment (perspective), yes, because he’s still the biggest name right now,” said the 53-year-old. “I see that as a fight that would be interesting for Islam because he gets to do what Khabib (Nurmagomedov) didn’t finish, I guess you could say.
“He gets to come back and get on the same journey that Khabib did. It’s a great payday for Islam.”
What Mendez Thinks Islam Should Do Next
Even though, as the MMA coach said, a potential fight with McGregor would bring in a lot of money for Makhachev, Mendez doesn’t see that as being the best next move for his fighter.
He said: “Beating Conor is not going to create the kind of legacy that Islam wants,” said the AKA coach.
“Going after the welterweight title, that’s a legacy-type moment. With Conor, it’s a money, and it’s a hype thing.”
Quotes taken from Red Corner MMA
Mendez added that he doesn’t know what the Russian fighter’s thoughts on the potential McGregor match up are, but that a fight for the 170lbs strap might fit more with what the 25-1 fighter wants his legacy to look like.
The 53-year-old also said that he hopes to see Makhachev fight again before the start of Ramadan. ESPN reporter Brett Okamoto has said that the lightweight king’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, told the outlet that the earliest he’d be defending his belt is 4th March 2024; six days before the start of Ramadan.
A fight on that date would likely see original UFC 294 title challenger Charles Oliveira try and regain his crown from the Russian.
Do you think Mendez is right, and what do you want to see Makhachev do next? Let us know in the comments below.