Head coach of the American Kickboxing Academy has doubts about Islam Makahchev’s ability to finish featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 284 in February. However, he still expects Makahchev to defeat the pound-for-pound champ.
Islam Makhachev defeated Charles Oliveira in the main event of UFC 280 in October of last year for the vacant lightweight championship via arm-triangle choke.
The Dagestani grappler was scheduled to headline UFC 284 on February 11 at the RAC Arena in Perth, Australia. It would be a champion-versus-champion matchup with featherweight champ, Volkanovski.
Javier Mendez said this in a recent interview with Helen Yee:
“I expect at the end of the day Islam Makhachev is going to be pound-for-pound the best fighter in the UFC or in the world actually.”
“Pound-and-pound, after he beats Alex (Alexander Volkanovski) which I’m expecting him to do but not like people, are thinking, like any kind of finish I don’t like that. It’s gonna be a five round war.”
“In my opinion, there is no one in the lightweight division that’s going to beat Islam (Makhachev) outside of what anybody can, you know, anybody can win but on the decision, not one’s going to beat him.”
Mendez thoughts mirror that of Khabib Nurmagomedov who expressed the belief that Volkanovski is the biggest threat yet. However Nurmagomedov did feel that Makhachev would get the finish:
“Volkanovski? Clinch, lot of knees; he’s gonna eat a lot of knees. He [Makhachev] is gonna take his [Volkanovski’s] all energy, take him down, and he’s gonna choke him out.”
“Of course, Volkanovski can box. He have amazing experience. How many times he defended his title, everything — But, brother, this is like, Thai clinch gonna kill him. Because even if he know this, let him prepare this. How many months? Five months? Six months? This guy [Makhachev] is doing this 20 years.”