Javier Mendez: Islam Makhachev will clear out lightweight, then go after welterweight title
Javier Mendez absolutely sees Islam Makhachev moving up to welterweight in the future.
Lightweight champion Makhachev (23-1 MMA, 12-1 UFC) makes his first title defense against featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski (25-1 MMA, 12-0 UFC) in Saturday’s UFC 284 headliner at RAC Arena in Perth, Australia. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and early prelims on ESPN+.
Makhachev said he plans an eventual move to 170 pounds after defending his belt multiple times, and his coach Mendez believes it’ll happen.
“I 100 percent see that,” Mendez told Submission Radio. “And the reason why I see that is because Islam wishes that. And when he wishes that, he’s going to will it to happen. So he’s going to train, he’s going to clear out the division like he wants to do, and then he is going to go for the welterweight title, and whoever that person at that particular time is going to be, I feel he’s going to beat.”
Mendez says Makhachev revealed his welterweight plans not too long after he submitted Charles Oliveira to win the lightweight title this past October at UFC 280.
“He was like, ‘Yeah, what do you think?'” Mendez said. “I said yeah, and it’s just like with Khabib (Nurmagomedov). I never heard Khabib talk anything about other than lightweight. That’s it. Khabib never said welterweight, middleweight. But in my eyes, what I’ve seen in my eyes in the gym for all the years I’ve had Khabib, Khabib could’ve been the lightweight, the welterweight and the middleweight champion, in my eyes.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 284.
MMA Junkie's 2022 Submission of the Year: Islam Makhachev def. Charles Oliveira