Javier Mendez: Islam Makhachev 'can do no matter he needs' in opposition to Dustin Poirier at UFC 302

by Christina S. Brown
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Many are seeing the upcoming light-weight title struggle between Islam Makhachev and Dustin Poirier as a repeat of Poirier’s 2019 failed try and win the belt in opposition to Khabib Nurmagomedov. Nevertheless, Javier Mendez, head coach of Makhachev and Nurmagomedov, thinks that evaluation is completely mistaken.

Makhachev (25-1 MMA, 14-1 UFC) appears to make his third title protection in opposition to Poirier (30-8 MMA, 22-7 UFC) on June 1 in the principle occasion of UFC 302. Though Makhachev’s staff is acquainted with Poirier, Mendez sees this as a distinct matchup.

“No, that is going to be loads completely different as a result of Islam isn’t Khabib,” Mendez instructed MMA Junkie in Spanish. “They’re two completely different fighters, they usually don’t work the identical. The one factor they do the identical is the self-discipline. They each work exhausting, however their fashion is completely different.

“Khabib was extra ground-oriented, however that’s what we needed. We’d at all times inform him, ‘Take the struggle to the bottom, take the struggle to the bottom. Father’s plan, father’s plan.’ … With Islam, he’s coaching all of the types; Muay Thai and boxing with different instructors in Dagestan. Khabib by no means did, he solely skilled with me. That’s why Islam advanced a lot within the putting. Islam can struggle nevertheless he needs, Khabib we’d inform him to wrestle as a result of nobody on this planet may take care of it, and we knew it.

“Islam has all of it. How he needs to win, when he needs to win, the place he needs to win, it’s as much as him. We will take the struggle wherever we wish. That’s the distinction between Islam and Khabib. Khabib’s No. 1 factor was wrestling, however Islam can do no matter he needs.”

Many have urged that Makhachev’s path to victory is to wrestle in opposition to Poirier like Nurmagomedov did in his 2019 title protection. Poirier is a harmful striker, however Mendez is assured that Makhachev cannot solely cling with Poirier on the ft but in addition beat him at his personal sport.

“Look what occurred in opposition to Volkanovslki, he beat him within the putting,” Mendez stated. “If individuals assume that Islam can solely win by taking the struggle to the bottom, they’re mistaken. That’s not the way it has to occur. Islam can do no matter he needs. Now, I’m not going to inform you what we now have deliberate for the struggle, however I can inform you Islam can do no matter he needs. Placing or floor sport, we are able to do all of it.”

For extra on the playing cards, go to MMA Junkie’s occasion hub for UFC 302.

Take a look at the Hablemos MMA YouTube channel for Spanish-language movies and interviews with MMA Junkie’s Danny Segura.

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