‘My jaw dropped…I mean, he plays the best poker face on the planet’: Khabib Nurmagomedov’s head coach Javier Mendez admits he was left stunned following retirement announcement after UFC 254 win over Justin Gaethje
- Khabib Nurmagomedov announced shock retirement after UFC 254 victory
- His win over Justin Gaethje leaves him with an undefeated 29-0-0 record
- Head coach Javier Mendez admits he didn’t know about Khabib’s retirement
Khabib Nurmagomedov‘s head coach, Javier Mendez, says he was shocked when the lightweight champion announced his retirement after defeating Justin Gaethje.
Making a speech following his second-round victory in the headline event at UFC 254, Khabib announced the news live to the cameras.
The 32-year-old was quick to thank his team but insisted he would not be returning to the UFC without his late father Abdulmanap by his side, following his passing in July after health complications caused by coronavirus.
Khabib Nurmagomedov announced his shock retirement after his victory over Justin Gaethje
His fight with Gaethje was the first since his father Abdulmanap died back in July this year
The undefeated fighter said he had no plans to carry on without his father by his side
Mendez who trained him up for the fight said that he did not know about his fighter’s plans before it was announced.
‘I learned about it while he was giving the speech,’ Mendez told Submission Radio.
‘My jaw dropped. I went, ‘What?’ I mean, he plays the best poker face on the planet.’
Mendez admitted he would have liked to have seen Nurmagomedov fight once more to take his undefeated record to 30 wins, but believes that the Russian is done for good.
He said: ‘As much as the fans – and even myself as a coach, I would love to have him back … I think he’s done,’ Mendez said.
‘You’re not gonna get me trying to convince him otherwise. If anything, I’ll say, “Hey, you said you’re retired, stay retired”.’
The unbeaten star said in the immediate aftermath of his victory over Gaethje: ‘Thank you for these guys, these guys with me, been with my father for more than 10 years. All my team, AKA with coach Javier, I love him so much, all my team.
‘Today, I want to say, this was my last fight. No way am I going to come here without my father. It was first time, after what happened with my father, when UFC called me about Justin.
Khabib’s head coach Javier Mendez admitted he was shocked by his fighter’s announcement
‘I talk with my mother three days, she don’t want that I go fight without father. I promised her, it’s going to be my last fight, and if I give my word, I have to follow this. It was my last fight here.
‘I know only one thing I want from UFC, you guys have to put me on No 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, because I deserve this.
‘UFC undisputed, undefeated lightweight champion, 13-0, 13 in UFC, 29 in all pro MMA career. I think I deserve it.’
Khabib will embrace the retired life with a massive financial boost pocketing not just the £4.6m purse but also a pay-per-view share and post-fight bonuses.
UFC president Dana White had revealed earlier last week that UFC 254 was on course to become the biggest selling pay-per-view ever from their early indications.