Khabib Nurmagomedov announced his retirement from professional MMA competition after becoming the undisputed UFC lightweight champion at UFC 254 and one person who was shocked by the announcement was Javier Mendez.
The AKA coach says that he didn’t known Nurmagomedov was retiring until the fighter made the announcement.
“I learnt about it when he was giving the speech. My jaw dropped. I was like, what? I mean, he played the best poker face on the planet.
“All of this was a total shock to me. I was going, oh man, Father’s plan, great but Mother’s plan works in the end. As his mother’s wish was for him not fight without his Father, and that’s what he did. And, you know, respect. This sport is not a longevity sport, it’s come in, come out. And he’s coming out at the time that he feels is the right time for himself and his family. And obviously me myself, I would have liked him to go 30-0 like his father wished, but he loves his mother so much and his family, that he decided that no, it’s time. And financially he’s set. So, he’s not a greedy man. And you guys know as well as I know, that if he hung out one more fight, it would have been a monster pay day. But obviously family means more to him than money in everything he does.
“Look at all the tears in the end. He was crying a lot. I mean, really, that was a lot of emotion, a lot of sorrow. And I just went up to him and said, I love you and cry, go ahead, let it all out. He deserved it. He bottled that up, man. He bottled that up. That was all bottled up inside, and it drove him to what he did. It was like he said, coach, my toe is broken but my mind is not. And that just goes to explain how powerful the mind is and how powerful his mind was. And I always knew that as long as this man had the faith in himself, in his family, in his religion, that he could never be broken. I knew that from 2012,” Mendez said on Submission Radio.
Nurmagomedov exits the sport with a 29-0 record and three successful defenses of the UFC lightweight title. Mendez also believes that unlike most fighters, Nurmagomedov will still retired.
"Unless he changes his mind, I personally, I don’t see the reason why. He’s never been somebody that’s said something and not meant it. To me, I would have to say that that part is done. I mean, sure, anything is possible. But as much as the fans, and even myself as a coach, I would love to have him back, but no, I think he’s done. And like I said, you’re not going to get me to try and convince him otherwise. If anything, I’ll say, hey, you said you’re retired, stay retired. My feeling on it personally is, the longer you stay away from the sport, let’s say one, two years go by, I think it’s a mistake to come back at that point and juncture, because you’re going to be behind the times. Everybody keeps evolving all the time. The fighters get better, the techniques gets better, the coaching gets better, and I think he’ll be behind. So, I don’t think it’s a wise idea,” says Mendez.