Although a lot of folks are still bummed out about the fact Jose Aldo won’t fight Conor McGregor at UFC 189, others would argue his fight with Chad Mendes is more compelling.
Sure, Mendes-McGregor doesn’t have the same back story as Aldo-McGregor, and it doesn’t include the greatest 145’er of all time, but stylistically, it’s fascinating. There’s no question that McGregor and his dazzling striking game has impressed since he arrived in the UFC, but we haven’t seen him face a top tier wrestler. That’s going to change, however, on Saturday night.
McGregor was on the latest episode of “UFC Tonight“, Thursday, and not surprisingly, he was asked about the wrestling aspect of the new match-up. So, what has McGregor changed in his training? Due to the fact he’s now fighting a man with a very developed wrestling game? (Quote via FOX Sports 1 press release)
“Absolutely nothing, I’ve been working with my wrestling coach since I was 15 years old,” said McGregor. “My main coach John is a phenomenal grappler. I anticipated Jose would turn into a wrestler once he felt the power. I’ve been preparing for this style of opponent and all types of opponents. They all turn into wrestlers when they feel the power.”
“It was bittersweet because there’s a question about fighting the wrestler,” McGregor added, when asked about the change in opponent. “People think the UFC have been sheltering me from wrestlers. It’s no difference if I get Chad first, Jose next, I will get them all.”
It’s going to be a fascinating to see how this all plays out. If McGregor repeatedly squashes the takedown attempts of Mendes, and goes on to stop him, a lot of the doubters will be silenced.
It’s also going to be interesting to see how McGregor does off his back, however, if Mendes takes him down. If the latter grinds out a win using his wrestling, what will the response be? That didn’t happen to Aldo when he faced Mendes twice.
UFC 189 will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.