Conor McGregor versus Chad Mendes, it wasn’t the showdown we were anticipating for UFC 189, but by no means is this a poor substitute.
The Irish are invading Las Vegas this week, armed with tricolours, ‘Ole Ole Ole’ chants, and inflatable green hammers. A reported 20% of ticket sales are being attributed to Irish fans, with the cheapest
seats in the house going for about $385, all the way to cage-side seats, that’ll set you back over $5,500.
After it was confirmed that Jose Aldo was ruled out of the bout 10 days ago, Chad ‘Money’ Mendes was eager to step into the main event. Why wouldn’t he be? It’s a huge payday, he’s getting massive exposure, he’s doing the UFC a huge favour, taking the fight on short notice, and he gets the chance to punch the man that told him, “I could rest my balls on your forehead.”
As for the Notorious one, he barely raised an eyebrow when the UFC changed opponents. McGregor said: “I feel this is the ‘McGregor Show.’ People are showing up to see me. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Jose or Chad.”
In Conor’s eyes the only thing that has changed, is that Mendes doesn’t need a translator to understand his insults. McGregor didn’t mince words when describing his new challenger, “I think Chad is a substitute. The B level. He’s a wrestler with an overhand that gasses.”
Who’ll raise the interim featherweight belt in the early hours of Sunday morning? That’s a very intriguing question.
Mendes is an excellent wrestler, who came very close to winning a national championship. Speaking about his wrestling Mendes said: “We have not seen him [McGregor] with many fighters that have the wrestling, that have the explosiveness to get inside and close the distance on him. The fights that I’ve seen him lose, those guys were able to get him down on the ground.”
His speed in the octagon is underrated, and he’s really stepped up his striking ability. Although, he would be foolish to keep this fight on the feet, Mendes needs to drag Conor to the ground, making it as rough and as uncomfortable as possible. Mcgregor’s christened Chad as “Mini Mendes” for a reason, he’s only 5’6, three inches smaller than the Irishman.
Even though the nicknames infuriate Mendes, he’s real fear of Conor are two things. McGregor has an 8 inch reach advantage, and lands more than double the amount of significant strikes per round. He lands 6 strikes per minute, throwing an average of 25 shots a minute. Mendes would be crazy to try and make this a standing exchange.
There are no prizes for guessing that McGregor wants to keep this fight on the feet. He wants to pressure Mendes, back him up, pick him off with devastating powerful bodyshots, use his jab, his foot movement, and his left left high kick to dismantle Mendes.
As for the Notorious’ claims that Chad gasses, this could be a big issue in a five round fight. If it goes to round 4 and 5, you’d have to favour McGregor, not only on past evidence, but due to the fact that Mendes did take this fight last minute, and it’s difficult to say how ‘fight ready’ his cardio is.
McGregor has no doubts about his wrestling or his future: “They’ll always say something to try and discredit what I am doing here. There’s always gonna be a question, Every fight there’s a question. Now it’s the wrestling question. Next it’s gonna be the interim question. Then when I smoke Chad, It’s going to be ‘He’s only had two weeks.’ There will always be something to try and discredit me, but at the end of the day, cash beats credit every day of the week.
“That’s what I’m here for. I’m here to shut this man down, break that pay-per-view record and cash a big fat check. And fuck everybody that doubts.”
The Las Vegas bookies are favouring McGregor, Vegas has him as a -155, while Paddypower has Irishman at 8/15. If you put 100 euro on Mendes, you’ll win 150 euro, that is pretty unbelievable for a fight that i’d say is a toss of a coin, 50/50 pick.
If Menes kills the UFC’s golden goose, it will be a disastrous for Dana White, Lorenzo Fertitta, and of course uncle Frank. Chad will face Aldo in Autumn for the third time, having already lost twice to the Brazilian. The PPV numbers will barely be half of what McGregor versus Aldo would be, losing the company millions.
However, just imagine if McGregor does win, the hype will be astronomical for the undefeated Irishman to fight the Brazilian, who hasn’t lost a fight in a decade. If you thought Conor taking his belt in front of him in Dublin and telling Aldo that he was his ‘Daddy’ was insulting, i can’t imagine what he’ll say and do for the months leading up to October/November showdown.
Watch the Countdown to UFC 189 below.