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Javier Mendez downplays Tony Ferguson’s cardio advantage: ‘Khabib is a cardio machine too’

Javier Mendez downplays Tony Ferguson’s cardio advantage: ‘Khabib is a cardio machine too’

Khabib Nurmagomedov speaks after defeating Dustin Poirier at UFC 242

Tony Ferguson having endless cardio won’t matter against Khabib Nurmagomedov according to the latter’s head coach.

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Ferguson challenges Nurmagomedov for the lightweight title at UFC 249 on April 18 in Brooklyn, New York. It’s a fight the combat sports world has been anticipating for a while.

But that’s not only because it was previously booked four times, but also because many believe “El Cucuy” has what it takes to inflict a first defeat on Nurmagomedov.

One of the main factors is Ferguson’s cardio and pace. Boasting arguably the scariest cardio in the entire UFC, even if Ferguson is taken down and controlled by Nurmagomedov early on, there is a belief that he will not tire later on in the fight unlike previous opponents.

“The Eagle” notably slowed down and failed to land a takedown in the third rounds of his fights with Al Iaquinta and Conor McGregor. However, his opponents couldn’t capitalize.

Therefore, Ferguson’s best opportunity would be after the initial first two rounds, particularly in the standup. Theoretically at least.

American Kickboxing Academy head coach Javier Mendez does not seem to agree.

In fact, he doesn’t believe Nurmagomedov — who he feels is a cardio machine in his own right — has ever been tired in the Octagon.

“You have to remember Khabib is a cardio machine too, so what’s the big deal?” Mendez said in a recent video. “So you got a guy [Ferguson] that’s going to be there in the fifth round — so what? Khabib is going to be in the fifth round too.”

The fact remains — Nurmagomedov cannot afford to be tired for one second during a fight with someone like Ferguson. And that will be especially crucial as Mendez does not foresee the contest ending with a finish, but rather, going the full 25 minutes in his pupil’s favor.

Preparation will be key, however.

“I don’t anticipate a stoppage. I anticipate a war, five rounds,” he added. “I expect a five-round decision and a smashing. That’s what I’m predicting and that’s what, in my mind, we’re prepared to do. But in order to do that, we have to prepare for the toughest person we’ve yet to face and that’s Tony.

“You have to respect him that way in order to smash him that way. I’ve always done that. The respect for him is there because if we don’t respect him, we’re going to get smashed by him. You got to respect him and everything he does. And his five-round cardio thing, yeah, he’s going to be there for five rounds but when has Khabib been known to get tired?”

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