Exclusive with Javier Mendez, the legendary trainer who guided Khabib Nurmagomedov to victories over Conor McGregor: Umar Nurmagomedov versus Sean O’Malley could be as big as McGregor-Khabib, O’Malley has “more class” than “scumbag” McGregor, Michael Chandler needs to come in “Khabib style” against McGregor.
Speaking exclusively to Lord Ping, Javier Mendez, who masterminded Khabib’s victories over McGregor, reveals how Chandler can beat McGregor and talks up a huge showdown between Umar Nurmagomedov and Sean O’Malley.
When do you think Umar will be back full contact sparring?
“I'm hoping Umar can get cleared to train in late December or early January, that's the timeframe I'm looking at. He could train now, but there's limitations on what he can do. Once he's back we can look at fights, I want top five guy, I don't care who it is. It's about Umar getting the challenges he needs to get to the title, if it's Cory great, if it's someone else great. Unfortunately it's up to the UFC who they give you, we don't get much of a choice. We may ask but if we don't we will get it.”
What do you think about O’Malley calling Umar’s name?
“O'Malley has that X factor and the UFC are pushing him very hard. He's very charismatic, but he can also fight and entertain. People like watching him. I think if they keep building him and he keeps winning, I think he could be the next big thing. I look forward to Umar facing Sean O’Malley in the future. But right now we're on the mend from the injury that he had surgery on and hopefully we get a fight next year and then after one or two victories, we will go after whoever the champ is. Hopefully it’s O'Malley because his torch is burning bright and this the first time we've had a bantamweight with that kind of pull. It would be the greatest gift Umar could have if Sean is still the champ when it's Umar's time.”
Mendez backing Umar Nurmagomedov to be a star
Could Umar v Sean be as big as Conor v Khabib?
“I think Umar and Sean could be as big as McGregor and Khabib, but the only thing is Sean O'Malley has more class than McGregor, he won't bring religion, country and family into the picture. I don't think Sean would go that low. I think he will keep it between him and Umar and leave it at that. Let the fighters talk crap, but leave family, leave the country, leave religion out of it.”
Does Conor beat Chandler?
“I'd tell Chandler “don't allow Conor's war of words to get him upset” because he's a master at that. And that's one thing we prepared for from the very first day that Khabib-McGregor was announced. I told Khabib everyday he's going to come after your family, religion and your country. We talked about that for months leading up to the fight, and sure enough he did what any scumbag fighter would do. If you're a scumbag fighter you come after those things and you shouldn't. Come after the fighter fine, but using country and religion should never be allowed. This is a competition. It's not life or death, but you're making it life of death by bringing in religion and country. I wish fighters would never do that.”
“I favour Conor only because Chandler likes to entertain. And he's going to stand more than he should. If Chandler fought the way he could fight I'd go with Chandler but Chandler is such a great entertainer, he's going to give Conor what he wants - doing more stand up than he should. Conor is the sharpshooter out of the two. Chandler brings war every time but I don't think this is the right type of fight for him. He needs to come in Khabib style, that’s the way to go with Conor. Basically shoot, shoot, shoot, punch. Never let him settle. Always let him know you're going to take him down so he doesn't settle, so he doesn't get comfortable on his feet.”
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