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Javier Mendez: Conor McGregor Not the Same Since Khabib Nurmagomedov Loss



American Kickboxing Academy coach Javier Mendez believes Conor McGregor hasn’t been the same since fighting Khabib Nurmagomedov.

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Islam Makhachev recently expressed interest in facing McGregor, backtracking on his previous stance. Asked about the reason behind Makhachev’s interest in McGregor, Mendez, who has coached both Makhachev and Nurmagomedov at AKA, stated the obvious: a massive payday and instant stardom.

“Massive fight, massive amount of money. And at the end of the day when you’re a champion, when you’re a prize fighter, you fight for the prize, the money,” Mendez told Submission Radio. “So, it’s a massive fight for Islam, it will bring up his stock tremendously. Conor definitely brings that to the table regardless of whether you like him or don’t like him.”

While Makhachev is open to fighting McGregor, the lightweight champ is extremely dismissive of the Irishman, who he believes is well past his prime., Mendez also believes “Notorious” hasn’t been the same since his title loss against Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in 2018.

“He’s [McGregor] the lottery ticket for a lot of these guys, you know," Mendez said. "Why do you even have guys that are much heavier calling him out, ‘Oh he’s heavy now, let me call him out.’ Yeah you know, he changes their lives because of the money and the fame that comes with the fight. It’s a big deal, we all want that prize. He has it, he is that prize, he knows it. But the problem is, like Islam has said, he doesn’t think he [McGregor] is the same fighter he was way back then when he was beating Jose Aldo, Chad Mendes and all those other guys, Eddie Alvarez. He was the man and then he met the hype, Khabib, that was the real hype. And so then I don’t think he’s been the same since. I really don’t. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am. I think he hasn’t been the same since the Khabib fight.”

After a massive build-up, McGregor challenged Nurmagomedov for the lightweight title in the main event at UFC 229, which remains the highest-earning Ultimate Fighting Championship event in history. McGregor went on to suffer a fourth-round submission loss against the Dagestani icon. While the Irishman bounced back with a TKO win over Donald Cerrone, he went on to suffer consecutive stoppage losses against Dustin Poirier along with a leg break that sidelined him for years. The former UFC double champ is finally scheduled to return to action after a three-year hiatus against Michael Chandler in the main event at UFC 303 on June 29.
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