Sports Coach didn't expect Khabib to retire: 'My jaw dropped'
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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.
"I learned about it while he was giving the speech," Mendez toldon 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.
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje date, start time, card, PPV schedule & odds for UFC 254
Here's everything you need to know about UFC 254, including the start time, odds, full fight card info and how to watch Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje.While "The Eagle" isn't into reigniting his rivalry with McGregor, he's all in for defending his lightweight world championship against a more than game Justin Gaethje in the headliner of UFC 254 on Saturday. The pay-per-view will take place at the Flash Forum on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.
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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Kimpembe defends himself after a controversial "like": "I play sports, not politics" .
© Yasin AKGUL / AFP LE SCAN SPORT - The PSG defender defuses tensions after being caught "liking" the message of former MMA star Khabib Nurmagomedov. A simple click can have serious consequences, and be fraught with meaning.