Khabib Nurmagomedov can't seem to catch a break between injuries and UFC politics.
The recently returned Nurmagomedov embarked on a veritable social media campaign to get a title shot against Eddie Alvarez at #UFC205, but we all know that didn't pan out for him. Conor "Mystic Mac" McGregor worked his magic ways and was able to try his hand at double gold instead.
Champions' Dave Rispoli caught up with AKA head coach Javier Mendez, who expressed his disappointment in the decision, but not for the reason you think.
"When I heard I that Conor [McGregor] was getting the title shot I was disappointed, not disappointed that he got the title shot, just disappointed that Khabib was used as a pawn in my opinion," Mendez said. "Why give a guy a contract to fight and actually not give him the fight? I mean, they gave him two contracts, he signed both, and he didn't get a fight. To me, I wish he never got the contract."
So, instead of a fight with Alvarez, the undefeated Nurmagomedov (currently on a 23 fight win streak) will fight Michael Johnson. While Johnson recently lost to Nate Diaz — a fight that may have been the catalyst to all this — he just knocked Dustin Poirier out in the first round. Although, that's not enough though to convince Mendez.
"Michael Johnson's a tough customer. I don't see anybody beating Khabib, so I look at it like this: no matter who we fight, he's gonna' beat them all. One way or another, he's gonna' beat them," Mendez said. "I just don't think there's anybody in the lightweight division that can beat him. Until I see someone that can beat his wrestling, then maybe I will but right now I don't see anyone being able to do that."
Mendez didn't want to speak about the negatives when asked about Nurmagomedov's possibly leaving the #UFC if he doesn't get a title shot, but seemed confident a win over Johnson would leave no other option.
Watch the full interview below and Nurmagomedov fight Johnson at UFC 205 on November 12.
UFC 205 Card:
- Eddie Alvarez (c) vs. Conor McGregor
- Tyron Woodley (c) vs. Stephen Thompson
- Joanna Jedrzejczyk (c) vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
- Chris Weidman vs. Yoel Romero
- Tim Kennedy vs. Rashad Evans
- Donald Cerrone vs. Kelvin Gastelum
- Frankie Edgar vs. Jeremy Stephens
- Liz Carmouche vs. Katlyn Chookagian
- Tim Boetsch vs. Rafael Natal
- Jim Miller vs. Thiago Alves
- Belal Muhammad vs. Vicente Luque
- Miesha Tate vs. Raquel Pennington
- Michael Johnson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov