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Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Coach Slams Joe Rogan Commentary for UFC 223 Main Event

April 10, 2018 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
UFC 223 Khabib Nurmagomedov Khabib Nurmagomedov's

Speaking to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour this week (via MMA Fighting), Khabib Nurmagomedov head coach Javier Mendez was very critical of UFC analyst Joe Rogan and his commentary for the main event at UFC 223. The fight saw Nurmagomedov defeat Al Iaquinta by decision to become the new UFC lightweight champion last Saturday (April 7). Below are some highlights from the interview.

Javier Mendez on Joe Rogan not understanding what was going on in the fight: “I saw the fight last night with Joe Rogan [commentating] and he totally didn’t understand what the hell’s going on because he totally based that thing completely wrong. ‘Oh, he exposed Khabib. There’s a lot of holes in his game.’ There’s no holes in his game. He’s never been a stand-up guy, yet he’s gotten better, and if you don’t acknowledge how much better he’s gotten compared to the last time, then you’re not really doing your research. Because he switched southpaw on this guy, he even did a goddamn back kick, for God’s sake. He’s improving all the time and you need to acknowledge that. Don’t act like he’s got these holes in his game. Jesus Christ, do you think if he’s going to fight Nate Diaz, we’re going to stand with Nate Diaz? Do you think we have a chance [standing] against Nate Diaz? Do you think I think that? For God’s sake, no way. No way in hell are we going to fight with Conor [McGregor]’s stand-up too. Everybody’s got a different gameplan, and if you don’t change the gameplan according to what’s going on, you’re going to get checkmated.”

Mendez on the gameplan and Khabib’s punching: “I think they’re 100-percent correct in the way they’re thinking, but let’s see how the gameplan plays out. Let’s see if we’re foolish enough to stand with Conor like that, or let’s see how much we’ve improved since then. That’s the one thing you saw from Khabib, let’s face it — when he was punching, he was punching one-two; he was dropping his hands; his chin was up high; he leaned back. So if Al would’ve been smart enough to come at him with threes and fours, then he could’ve potentially clipped us. But Al was doing ones and twos himself, he wasn’t doing too many combinations.

“That’s not something Conor’s going to do. If that ever happened, Conor’s going to throw combinations because he’s schooled enough in the art of boxing that he’s going to come out, he knows one-twos are aren’t enough. So it’ll be a completely different gameplan. Like I said, Joe Rogan — Joe Rogan’s saying he’s been exposed, this and that. I’m going, man, is he crazy? When has Khabib ever been known to be some great striker? It’s like all of a sudden Khabib’s some great striker? We always knew he had holes in his stand-up. I always say it. When have I ever told you that Khabib is a great stand-up fighter? I’ve never said that. I said he improves all the time, and he’s improved.”

His thoughts on Joe Rogan: “I love Rogan, but yeah, if he’s apologized, he shouldn’t. He doesn’t need to apologize. Hey, that guy’s fantastic in my eyes. He says something, it causes controversy. So for me, he doesn’t need to apologize. But I’m sure he’s probably getting a lot of hate mail, because, I mean, when you think about it — right? — you call [a fight for] this guy [and say] he’s open [to getting hit], open… but yet he out-struck a guy that, before this, you would’ve thought he’d never out-strike.”