Now that Jose Aldo is no longer fighting in the headliner for UFC 189, there’s no question that the dynamics of the bout have changed for Conor McGregor. Sure, Chad Mendes can crack and is a dangerous striker like Aldo, but he has a takedown game that surpasses that of the featherweight champ.
Thus, this is why so many people are very intrigued to see how and whether McGregor can deal with the wrestling skills of Mendes. Up until now, we haven’t seen McGregor face a decorated wrestler in the Octagon, and tomorrow we’ll see what unfolds.
In the latest episode of “UFC Tonight“, both Kenny Florian and Daniel Cormier weighed-in on the bout, and how each man can take home the interim belt. Here is what they had to say (quotes via FOX Sports 1 press release):
“For Chad Mendes, he has to set up the takedowns, control the foot space, step in and grab the high crotch,” said Cormier. “He needs to throw the overhand to set up the high crotch grab. But he shouldn’t shoot the straight double leg. In the end, he has to take him down in the fight.”
“Conor has a long stance. That long stance will give Chad hard time to get inside,” Florian noted, while discussing the keys for McGregor. “He uses his long range weapons very effectively. He’ll give up the single leg grab on purpose because it’s lot easier to get rid of a single grab. He has to use his variety of strikes, use his creativity and confuse Mendes.”
There you have it. It’s going to be fascinating to see how long into the bout Mendes goes for a takedown, or feints one. If Mendes has McGregor thinking about a TD, it should open up opportunities for his striking. If Mendes goes for a a few takedowns and gets turned back, “Notorious” could kicks things into high gear…
UFC 189 will go down at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. In the co-headliner, welterweight champ Robbie Lawler will look to defeat Rory MacDonald for a second time.