American Kickboxing Academy coach Javier Mendez has high praise for his former student Khabib Nurmagomedov. ‘The Eagle’ has taken to coaching since retiring as an undefeated UFC world champion and has coached Islam Makhachev into a title match at UFC 280.

While speaking on the UFC Unfiltered Podcast, Mendez explained how he sees Nurmagomedov as a coach and trainer. He said:

“He’s been coaching forever. Even when he was fighting, he was coaching. He’d be sparring through these five rounds and all of a sudden he’d be sitting there with us coaching the guys. He’s been doing that forever.”

Mendez added the attitude Khabib Nurmagomedov has regarding educating training partners is passed down from his father Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov. Abdulmanap was a coach of the national freestyle wrestling team for the Republic of Dagestan. The AKA coach continued:

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“His father had trained him from such a young age to take the responsibility over, as a fighter, as a coach, and he’s taking over his father’s footsteps. He’s learned from me, he’s learned from his father, mostly his father. But to me, he’s on track, in my opinion, because of his age, what he’s doing, the camp I see, the fighters he has, he’s on track to being the greatest coach of all time, in my opinion. I see it. I see the writing on the wall.” [Transcript courtesy of]

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See the full interview below:

Khabib Nurmagomedov as a coach

Since retiring in October 2020, Khabib Nurmagomedov has dedicated more of his focus to being a cornerman and coach for his fellow students. The Dagestani fighter most notable has coached Islam Makhachev on his ten-fight unbeaten streak into a UFC title shot later this month.

The Russian fighter also has trained Abubakar Nurmagomedov who has had one victory since 2020 in the UFC. Plus, undefeated UFC fighter Umar Nurmagomedov has gone 3-0 in that time. Additionally, Usman Nurmagomedov went a perfect 4-0 in Bellator to maintain his unbeaten streak. Other fighters he has coached and cornered include Zubaira Tukhugov, Tagir Ulanbekov, Islam Mamedov, Gadzhi Rabadanov, and Saygid Izagakhmaev.

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While he leaves an incredible legacy in MMA by retiring as an undefeated champion, according to Mendez he is still building his legacy as a mentor and a coach to his fellow Dagestani fighters.

Timothy Wheaton is a combat sports writer who covers MMA, Kickboxing, and Muay Thai. He has been an avid follower of these sports since 2005. Tim has even covered the UFC, GLORY Kickboxing, and Bellator in person at live events. With Low Kick MMA, Tim has contributed interviews, articles, and podcasts. Tim also works with a host of other media sites such as Calf Kick Sports, Sportskeeda MMA, MMA Sucka, Vecht Sport Info, Fighters First, and Beyond Kickboxing. Tim is is the authority on kickboxing and MMA journalist who has covered K-1, PRIDE FC, UFC, GLORY Kickboxing, Bellator, ONE Championship, and plenty more.