American Kickboxing Academy head coach Javier Mendez hasn’t gotten to see Johnny Eblen showcase his skills in person, but based on what he’s heard from other coaches he thinks the Bellator champion could be in the conversation for the best middleweight in MMA.
Almost no fan will try to argue that any other promotion has an overall roster that can rival the UFC, but at least as far as champions go Bellator does have a few of the best fighters in the world. One of the promotion’s brightest stars is Eblen, who is currently unbeaten and just defended his middleweight title for a second time at Bellator 299.
“Pressure” is quickly making a name for himself with every win he adds to his record, and Mendez recently detailed how highly some of his peers have spoken about the 31-year-old.
“Everybody that’s anybody has talked highly about him,” Mendez said on his YouTube channel. “And I’ve yet to see anybody say different than what I’ve heard from top coaches that talk about him and top fighters that talk about him. But I haven’t personally seen him myself, I’ve looked forward to the time I get to watch him because I wanna see that kind of talent and I like watching them perform and how they perform.”
Javier Mendez Considers How Johnny Eblen Compares To Other Middleweights
Eblen has only really jumped onto the radar of most MMA fans since he claimed Bellator’s middleweight belt, but Mendez suggests he could be talented enough to hang with any of the other top 185-pound fighters across the sport.
“He’s definitely one of the unknown guys that should be known more so than what he is now, in my opinion. Based on the talk I hear about him, he’s the real deal. And he could very well, easily be number one over any middleweight from what a lot of guys are saying. But that we’ll never know until you fight the other leagues…He’s the guy that everybody talks about on the underground more or less, the people in the know talk about him.”
Mendez’s suggestion about how Eblen stacks up against the best middleweights in promotions other than Bellator is interesting to consider given how the UFC’s middleweight division just experienced a sizeable shakeup. Israel Adesanya was heavily favored to defend his title at UFC 293 in Australia before being upset by Sean Strickland, and now there are several fighters all vying for a shot at the newly-crowned champion.
There’s a chance fans might get to see Eblen test himself in the UFC at some point given that Bellator’s long-term future still seems to be up in the air, but for now the 31-year-old can take some time to enjoy his impressive third-round stoppage against Edwards.
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