“I remember with Khabib, through all his sparring sessions, he destroyed everybody, right away, nobody stood a chance against him”
The good times just keep on coming out here in Dubai, it’s such a wonderful place to spend time, full of inspiring people, innovators and big ideas that come to fruition in the blink of an eye. It’s why more and more people from all around the world are spending time here, many relocating permanently. In fact, you never know who you might run into when taking a stroll down the boardwalk.
Which leads me very nicely onto today’s guest, and believe me, I’m both privileged and excited about this one. On today’s livestream I’ll be sitting down with the one, the only, legendary trainer and coach to some of the greatest mixed martial artists on the planet – Javier Mendez.
The word legend gets thrown around all too often these days, but Javier Mendez ticks all the required boxes. He’s a true pioneer whose record at the highest level speaks for itself, and more impressively, the conveyor belt of talent continues to this day.
Javier’s journey into the world of martial arts began at a young age, fueled by a passionate desire to explore the physical and mental aspects of combat sports. He initially took up Tang Soo Do and taekwondo before joining a boxing club at the age of 12 under the mentorship of Walter Carvalho, a coach who would significantly impact his future career.
However, meeting Scott Coker, founder of Strikeforce and head of Bellator, broadened Javier’s horizons significantly and played an instrumental role in shaping his destiny.
In 1985, Javier began his own fighting career, taking on all comers in the world of kickboxing, quickly establishing himself before winning two ISKA world titles in 1992 and 1995. It was also during this period that Javier founded the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) in San Jose, California.
AKA quickly gained recognition as the go-to gym for aspiring young fighters and under Mendez’s leadership, became synonymous with producing some of the most recognisable names in the sport of MMA.
In his time as a coach and mentor, Javier has overseen the careers of 11 world champions including Frank Shamrock, BJ Penn, Islam Makhachev and of course Khabib Nurmagomedov. In fact, in 2015, Javier became the only trainer to have 3 concurrent UFC titleholders in Cain Velasquez, Daniel Cormier and Luke Rockhold.
However, undoubtedly Javier’s most celebrated collaboration came alongside Khabib, the fighter who rewrote the record books and went on to become one of the biggest names in UFC history. Javier’s close bond with Khabib was pivotal in forging his undefeated record before he eventually retired as the UFC Lightweight Champion.
That dominance is something Javier believes he can repeat once again with the current Lightweight Champion, Islam Makhachev, who is establishing himself as a pound for pound great in the modern era.
“No one else had ever given Khabib any trouble in sparring, Islam was the only one. He was the only one that would actually win rounds against Khabib, no one else could ever do that, no one!“
How does Javier continue to create champions? What’s the secret sauce? One thing is for sure Javier shows no signs of letting up and firmly believes AKA will continue to be the number one gym in the sport
I can’t wait for this one! As a huge fan of mixed martial arts, it’s an honour to sit down with a true great of the sport and find out exactly what it takes to not only rise to the top, but stay there.
Javier’s a fascinating guy and pulls no punches so strap yourself in and be sure to join us live and share the link with every fight fan you know as this is going to be powerful.
“It all started with Frank Shamrock, you know… The one thing that stood out about Frank was the mental side, and I guess that’s what stands out with all the guys. They’re mentally super strong.”