One of the reasons many people believe Tony Ferguson is a potentially dangerous match-up for Khabib Nurmagomedov is because of ‘El Cucuy’s’ relentless pace and highly unorthodox style.
American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) head coach Javier Mendez, however, who trains Khabib out of San Jose, California, doesn’t know what all the fuss is about. Mendez knows Khabib can go five rounds with Ferguson and believes the undefeated UFC lightweight champion will be able to match Ferguson’s pace at UFC 249.
Mendez said in a recent video interview that Nurmagomedov is preparing for a five-round war with Ferguson on April 18.
“You have to remember Khabib is a cardio machine too, so what’s the big deal?” Mendez said, per Abhinav Kini of The Body Lock MMA. “So you got a guy [Ferguson] that’s going to be there in the fifth round — so what? Khabib is going to be in the fifth round too.”
“I don’t anticipate a stoppage. I anticipate a war, five rounds,” he added. “I expect a five-round decision and a smashing. That’s what I’m predicting and that’s what, in my mind, we’re prepared to do. But in order to do that, we have to prepare for the toughest person we’ve yet to face and that’s Tony.
“You have to respect him that way in order to smash him that way. I’ve always done that. The respect for him is there because if we don’t respect him, we’re going to get smashed by him. You got to respect him and everything he does. And his five-round cardio thing, yeah, he’s going to be there for five rounds but when has Khabib been known to get tired?”
UFC 249: Khabib vs. Ferguson takes place later this year, April 18 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.