Khabib Nurmagomedov’s head coach, Javier Mendez, has said that his fighter will never be considered the best in the UFC lightweight division until he fights Conor McGregor.
Dagestan native Nurmagomedov was given the opportunity to fight for the lightweight crown after McGregor was stripped of the belt due to inactivity from the sport.
Speaking to Express Sport, Mendez believes Nurmagomedov is showing signs of being the best in the division but also admits that the champion will have to face McGregor and win to remain at the top:
I think that the asterisk will be Conor.
Because he’ll have to fight Conor to really in everybody’s eyes be considered the best lightweight. Even though I consider him the best lightweight.
But to be honest, a lot of people won’t consider him to be the best until they clash. Unless Conor moves up in weight or retires.
Nurmagomedov became the new holder of the lightweight division in the main event of UFC 223 of last month after he recorded a unanimous decision victory over Al Iaquinta.
The newly crowned UFC 155 lbs champion recently revealed that talks have been held with the promotion over a fight with ‘The Notorious One’ but the proposed fight will have wait due to McGregor’s upcoming court date. McGregor was charged with three counts of assault and one count of criminal mischief for throwing a dolley through the window of a bus carrying UFC 223 fighters, including Nurmagomedov, at the PPV events media day.