Although having just made his UFC debut, Javier Mendez thinks that Umar Nurmagomedov is only “five or six fights” away from becoming a UFC champion.
Umar, 25, won by second-round submission against Sergey Morozov at UFC Fight Island 8 last month, banking a $50,000 performance bonus. The younger cousin of now-retired UFC lightweight champion Khabib, Umar is undefeated in thirteen professional fights.
Talking recently to MMA Junkie, the American Kickboxing Academy head coach Mendez shared his high expectations for the bantamweight prospect.
“I’ve been saying it, in five or six fights, I expect him to be fighting for a title, and I believe we’re seeing a new champion, 100 percent,” Mendez said. “He still has some improvements to make, but he’s going to make them. And yeah, you will be seeing him with the strap in five or six fights from now.”
Khbaib concluded his MMA career with a flawless record of 29-0, defeating Justin Gaethje by submission to defend his title for the final time. Mendez revealed that Umar and Khabib’s other cousin Abubakar are all inspired by the former champ and want to mimic his success.
“It’s everything; they all look up to Khabib,” Mendez said. “He’s like a big brother and a role model. He’s everything they want to be like, and he provides for them opportunities, whether it be on the physical or the mental.
“He’s there for them, and they’re well taken care of. He makes sure that everything is done right for them, so they can’t be nothing but successful with him because of all the knowledge and support he gives them.”