Top-ranked UFC lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov has been on the sidelines for the entirety of 2017 dealing with the ill effects of an extremely botched weight cut heading into his scheduled interim title bout versus Tony Ferguson at March’s UFC 209.
After “The Eagle” was unable to show up for early weigh-ins due to him being in the hospital in Las Vegas, many pointed to his somewhat head-scratching clip where he was eating tiramisu for dessert days before he had to drop his usual large amount of weight to make the 155-pound championship limit. According to his head coach at American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) Javier Mendez, far too much has been made of Nurmagomedov’s perceived inability to make weight.
Mendez told Submission Radio (quotes via MMA Fighting) that the situation became overblown because “El Cucuy” had poked fun of his weight cut at a pre-fight press conference:
“You know, the last time, people were making too much of his weight cut, talking about it was disastrous, he wasn’t gonna make weight, just because his opponent says he wasn’t gonna make weight and he made fun of it. He was on schedule to make weight, his body just failed on him,” Mendez said.
“It’s like, how many times do you see a fighter get ready for a fight and all of a sudden kidney stones or something happens to him? Look, it does have a lot to do with losing weight that causes these problems, but it wasn’t that he wasn’t gonna make weight, he was gonna make weight, he wasn’t over anything, he was just like where he normally is. And just the thing with Khabib is, he doesn’t like to say anything about it, and he still won’t say anything about it.”
As for the infamous tiramisu controversy, Mendez said that his pupil was simply with fighters who were out of camp at the time and did not eat the delicacy:
“And then there’s that tiramisu bulls**t. You know, he don’t eat that stuff, he never ate that stuff. He’s with a bunch of fighters that aren’t in camp and not fighting, so they’re not allowed to eat because he’s not allowed to eat? It’s like stupid, you know? Too much has been made up of something that wasn’t even there.”
Maybe it does amount to ‘bulls**t,’ but touting that you were enjoying a dessert the week you have to make a massive weight cut for the biggest fight of your life and then missing weight is an increasingly bad look for “The Eagle” any way you slice it, especially considering that he’s only fought twice since April 2014 due to never-ending injuries.
Regardless, Khabib will now move on to face touted striker Edson Barboza at December 30’s UFC 219 from Las Vegas. It’s a dangerous fight that he has to win to be further considered for a title bout in the UFC’s messiest class, and Mendez claims it only came about when Ferguson, who’s now supposedly looking out for the business side of MMA, wanted to wait for current champion Conor McGregor:
“Yeah, 100 percent true, they offered Tony. But listen, you know, Tony, when he was going for that gold, he was saying, ‘I’ll defend, I’ll do this, I’ll do that,’ but reality is, he’s the fighter but he’s got businessmen that manage him, and they’re doing a good job doing with that. And it comes down to, once you reach that mountain top, which Tony has, then it’s about making the wise choices that make the most sense.
“And let’s face it, a bout with Khabib versus a bout with Conor, which was what Dana was talking about, everybody was talking about, if you were in Tony’s shoes what would you do? You’re not just gonna fight anybody that comes up and whatever. No, he’s gonna try to get himself in that sweepstake situation with Conor, and you can’t blame him, I don’t blame him.”