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Sports Coach didn't expect Khabib to retire: 'My jaw dropped'

18:35  26 october  2020
18:35  26 october  2020 Source:   thescore.com

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Khabib Nurmagomedov's head coach, Javier Mendez, says it was a "total shock" when the lightweight champion announced his retirement after beating Justin Gaethje at UFC 254.

javier mendez, Khabib Nurmagomedov posing for the camera © Josh Hedges / UFC / Getty

"I learned about it while he was giving the speech," Mendez told Submission Radio on Monday. "My jaw dropped. I went, 'What?' I mean, he plays the best poker face on the planet."

Nurmagomedov revealed after the fight he'd promised his mother that the Gaethje bout - which resulted in a second-round submission victory - would mark his final trip to the Octagon. His father, Abdulmanap, died in July from a heart condition complicated by COVID-19.

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Mendez, who coaches at American Kickboxing Academy, said he would've liked to see Nurmagomedov fight once more to extend his professional record to 30-0. But he respects the fighter's decision and said he believes "The Eagle" is retired for good.

"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," he added. "If anything, I'll say, 'Hey, you said you're retired, stay retired.'"

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