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Mendez: 'Khabib was used as a pawn' to set up McGregor vs. Alvarez at UFC 205

AKA coach Javier Mendez is understandably bothered by the fact that his fighter was given a bout agreement to fight the champion, but never actually got the fight.

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

American Kickboxing Academy head coach Javier Mendez says he has nothing against Conor McGregor. He even understands why McGregor was eventually booked against UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez in the UFC 205 headliner. What he isn't a fan of is how the promotion used his top lightweight, Khabib Nurmagomedov, in the process.

Nurmagomedov, the consensus number one contender in the division, was apparently offered two bout agreements to fight Alvarez - one for UFC 205 and one for UFC 206. Ultimately though, the fight ended up going to the bigger star in McGregor. Mendez takes offense to this, but is careful not to blame McGregor in an interview with (transcribed by MMA Junkie):

"By all rights, people want to see Conor fight. No problem. But don’t give a guy a contract if you’re not intending to give him a fight.

"I was disappointed. Not disappointed that (Conor) got the title shot, just disappointed that Khabib was used as a pawn, in my opinion. Why give a guy a contract to fight and actually not give him the fight?"

Khabib himself has been quite vocal about the snub, stating that he was used the whole time during the process. Khabib's father even claimed that Nurmagomedov was used to to lower the salaries of McGregor and Alvarez, saving the promotion 3.5 million dollars.

Regardless, Khabib did accept a fight against Michael Johnson on the same card. You can bet he'll be calling out the winner of the headliner that night if he's able to get past the new challenge in front of him.

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