UFC 189: Chad Mendes Says Lifetime of Competing is Why Conor McGregor Can’t Get in His Head
By Kelsey Mowatt
Chad Mendes may be tasked with facing one of MMA’s biggest stars at UFC 189, and on short notice, but the featherweight contender says he’s more than ready to end the rise of Conor McGregor.
In McGregor, not only will Mendes face a dynamic fighter who has won all five of his UFC bouts to date, but he will battle a man who may be the game’s greatest trash talkers. Since McGregor arrived in the UFC, he has repeatedly said he isn’t overly impressed with any of the division’s top fighters, including Mendes. Of course, since Mendes was tapped as a replacement for champion Jose Aldo at UFC 189, McGregor has predictably stepped up his verbal attacks.
Recently Mendes appeared on “UFC Tonight”, and when asked if he’ll be able to keep his emotions in check on Saturday night, the accomplished wrestler stated (quotes via FOX Sports 1 press release):
“I’ve been a high-level athlete since I was five years old. I’ve wrestled up through the NCAA’s and fought guys like this. It’s the mental side of it,” said Mendes, whose only losses to date in 19 pro bouts have come against Aldo. “This is how McGregor is, waging mental warfare before the fights. There’s no way that guy is going to get in my head.”
One of McGregor’s go to points, and or insult, depending on how he was presenting it, is in regards to Mendes’ height. The latter is 5’6 tall, while “Notorious” is listed at 5’9. The Irish fighter has argued his size and reach will play a deciding factor when he faces the American.
“I’ve fought Erik Koch who’s a long southpaw, for my first fight in the WEC. It’s all about execution,” said Mendes, while discussing the reach advantage of McGregor. “From my first fight in the UFC I had to deal with it. Pretty much everyone has the reach advantage in every one of my fights. I have the athleticism. I can close the distance on anyone. I hit like Mike Tyson, especially with those little gloves. I’m going to put somebody to sleep.”
Mendes is coming off a stoppage win over Ricardo Lamas in April, but the 30 year-old was not booked for a bout when the UFC put him on standby, following the news Aldo was injured. The Team Alpha Male fighter immediately kicked his training into high gear after getting the call, before he was notified just last week that the fight was a go.
“That last 11 days was just fine-tuning the game plan. I’ve been watching him, building a game plan, and training for anyone who’s a top contender. I feel ready, I feel great. We’ve prepared for him since he’s come into the UFC.”
UFC 189 will be hosted by the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.