Khabib Nurmagomedov’s coach has claimed that his fighter “wanted to punish” Conor McGregor, but not Justin Gaethje.
The unbeaten Russian signed off in style in his last fight, choking USA’s Justin Gaethje into submission before retiring in the cage after the fight – with a perfect 29-0 record.
Now, trainer Javier Mendez is claiming that Gaethje could have met an even stickier end in the bout and that his fighter purposefully strung out the 2018 clash with Conor McGregor.
Mendez told SunSport: "Khabib purposely let Conor go longer, he purposely stood with him, he wanted to punish him.
"Just because Conor went four rounds it doesn't mean Khabib had a tougher time trying to finish him - Khabib wanted to punish Conor, he didn't want to do that with Justin.
"I gather Khabib likes Justin a lot because he finished him sooner than he would've with most people.
"He likes to punish people a bit, ground and pound them.
"But Justin's parents were there and he knew Justin wouldn't tap and he didn't want to break his arm in front of his parents.”
The coach also shared meaningful insights into the Russian’s preparation for his final appearance in the Octagon.
A well-documented toe break had hampered his training, but coach Mendez claims it was the fighter’s indomitable mind-set that saw him through.
He revealed: “Khabib said, 'Coach, my toe maybe broken, but my mind is not...'
"The last few days of camp he sparred everyday, as we needed to catch up and everyday he got better, and better and better.
"The last day he looked phenomenal and I was like, 'Wow'.
"We got all that bad luck but at the end of the day I don't know if he could have been any more prepared than he was the last day… He was so on, better than he's ever been."
So there you have it, McGregor lasted longer in the cage with Khabib because The Eagle fancied it... that's just how good he is!
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