Team Khabib have responded to the weigh-in controversy ahead of UFC 254, with coach Javier Mendez pouring scorn at the critics.
MMA fans have questioned the lightweight champion's appearance as he stripped down to barely (no pun intended) make 155llb, looking drawn and pale on the scales. Conspiracy theorists have even suggested the 32-year-old failed to make weight altogether.
However American Kickboxing Academy coach Javier Mendez has issued a strong denial of these stories following the dramatic weigh-in. Mendez told MMA Junkie "it's stupid" to think anything was wrong and that Khabib's weight cut went entirely to plan.
155lbs.- UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) October 23, 2020
Khabib Nurmagomedov is first on the scale for his fight with Justin Gaethje tomorrow night :trophy::flag_ru:
7pm UK start time! Click here to buy #UFC254 on BT Sport Box Office :arrow_right: https://t.co/LmdecOCthi pic.twitter.com/6HMpkN4PkK
"I can tell you that yesterday after the first weight cut, it was in the morning, he was six pounds off the weight, and he was going to do two cuts - one on Thursday morning and one at night," Mendez said in the interview with MMA Junkie.
"He felt so good, and he was six pounds off, and he felt strong and said he was going to do the cut the next day. And [by then] he had four-and-a-half, maybe five pounds to go this morning."
Mendez was not present at the weigh-in, but he's undoubtedly well placed to comment given his position in the unbeaten Russian's camp. He claims that Khabib hasn't been worried at any point.
Khabib makes 155 with the towel and looks incredibly relieved. pic.twitter.com/pLrOEnPDdg- caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) October 23, 2020
"I asked him, 'How was the weight cut?' And he said, 'Easy, coach, like last time.'" says Mendez.
"And last time wasn't that hard. I mean, all weight cuts are hard as you know, but I don't understand [why] people are making something of nothing. It's stupid.
"He wasn't struggling. If you would've watched him right now - he was grappling - you'd say, 'Wow. That guy is strong as hell.'"
A firm push-back, but it might not satisfy fans who watched Khabib's relieved reaction as his weight was read out, covering his face with his hands. There are also those who claim the scale was still moving as the UFC lightweight champion's weight was announced.
Not one for the MMA conspiracy theories but the Khabib weigh in was suspicious. The scale clearly tips up when he steps on the scale, meaning he is heavier than indicated, and the official quickly moves it and says 155 and Khabib appears in misbelief that he made it. pic.twitter.com/St2ae8yaDh- Sibling Rivalry MMA Podcast (@RivalryMMA) October 23, 2020
Nurmagomedov defends his 155lb title against interim champ Justin Gaethje today in Abu Dhabi.
Those watching will have a keen eye on whether the relentless Russian is his usual, unstoppable self, or whether a brutal weight drain has sapped him of his incredible powers.
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