Javier Mendez has expressed his praise for his young pupil Usman Nurmagomedov (16-0 MMA) following his performance at Bellator 288.

The American Kickboxing Academy coach believed Numagomedov carried out his game plan perfectly after claiming the Bellator Lightweight Championship away from Patricky Freire (24-11 MMA) in Chicago earlier this month. 

The Russian native was able to display a variety of his skills across the five-round affair. After the allotted 25 minutes, Nurmagomedov earned himself a dominant decision victory, as he became the new undisputed 155lbs champion and kept his unbeaten status. 

Despite the outcome of the fight being very one-sided, Javier Mendez expressed that it wasn’t as easy as it looked. 

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“He won easily, and it wasn’t an easy fight, but he made it look easy,” Mendez exclaimed. 

“There were a few times when the fight wasn’t too exciting, but that’s because Patricky didn’t do anything. He didn’t do anything.”

“He had his guard up, but he didn’t exchange. So, there were boos from the fans, they always want fighters to collide, but they didn’t. Usman did, he was kicking and throwing strikes, but Patricky didn’t do anything because he couldn’t enter. Usman didn’t let him enter.” 

Javier Mendez believes we are yet to see the best of Usman Nurmagomedov

Mendez said the fight played out exactly how they planned, although now a champion in one of MMA’s major promotions, he is sure the world hasn’t seen the best from his student. 

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Not only does he anticipate much improvement from the 24-year-old, but Javier Mendez also sees an even brighter future In the sport for Usman Nurmagomedov. 

“We knew that it was going to play out like that,” Mendez stated.

“The thing that you have in against Patricky is the long attacks, the legs, the jabs. He’s taller. So we kept the distance and kicked and kicked to push him back, and whenever he closed the distance, he needed to go to the wrestling. So whenever he wanted to come in with strikes, he needed to wrestle, and that’s what he did.”

“He did everything perfectly. This kid is only 24 years old and has a lot to grow. In two or three years when he does his growing, man, watch out. He’s going to be one of the biggest stars in MMA. That’s what I believe.” (Transcribed by MMA Junnkie)

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It is unsure whom the newly crowned Bellator Champion will defend his lightweight title against yet, however, one thing is for sure it’s not only Javier Mendez that predicts Usman Nurmagomedov will have a long future in this sport.

What do you think of Javier Mendez’s comments?

Combat sports journalist based out of the UK. Follow @OliverBrockett on Twitter for all things MMA and Boxing.