Javier Mendez: Islam Makhachev the most well-rounded lightweight of all time

For as good as everyone thinks Islam Makhachev is, Javier Mendez says he’s even better.

Ahead of Makhachev’s lightweight title fight against Charles Oliveira at UFC 280 on Oct. 22, his head coach Mendez has declared him the most well-rounded lightweight of all time.

A bold statement from the American Kickboxing Academy head coach, who also trained former UFC lightweight champion and Hall of Famer Khabib Nurmagomedov. But when breaking down all the skills and disciplines, Mendez says no one matches Makhachev (22-1 MMA, 11-1 UFC).

“You don’t know what you’re dealing with until you’re dealing with him,” Mendez told Submission Radio. “That’s what everybody that’s dealt with Islam, they thought they could do better, until they get in there and they didn’t. He is so well-rounded. I am going on record saying as the lightweight, he is hands down the No. 1 of all time, best in all areas.

“No. 1 of all time, Islam Makhachev. Best defense, best striking, best everywhere. The best all-around athlete. Way, way back in the day I thought it was Frank Shamrock that was the best well-rounded athlete, and he was in all divisions. But in the lightweight division, for me, the person that’s the best-rounded in every single area is Islam Makhachev.”

Nurmagomedov, who is Makhachev’s mentor, is widely regarded as the most dominant force in UFC history. He retired as an undefeated and undisputed lightweight champion, who never faced adversity inside the octagon. However, Mendez says the only man to ever give him trouble in a practice room is Makhachev.

“In all the history, since 2012, since Khabib’s been doing sparring with me in front of my eyes, there has been nobody that’s ever taken a round from him,” Mendez said. “No one’s ever won a sparring session. Not a sparring session with Khabib ever. Except one man. Islam. He’s the only one that has won rounds from Khabib. Never won a session, but he’s won rounds. And I’ve never seen that. So, obviously, when Khabib talks about the next heir, he’s not saying something that he’s trying to make up and make people believe.

“He knows, like I know, how good his Islam is. That’s why he’s so confident in what he’s saying. Khabib’s not known to say something that he doesn’t mean. And he means it, I mean it. And now it’s time for Islam to go out there and shine and let everybody know what Khabib already knows and I know, that he’s the best right now. He is the best. And we have to prove it and we will prove it.”

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