Chad Mendes (pictured) is 17 days out from trying to avenge his knockout loss to reigning featherweight king Jose Aldo at UFC 179. However, it’s impossible to talk about the 145-pounders without mentioning one Conor McGregor – particularly since McGregor called out “Chad ‘Mini’ Mendes” following last month’s victory over Dustin Poirier.
Mendes doesn’t seem to deny the UFC’s current flavor of the month is a talented striker, but in the MMA business, you have to be well-rounded in order to become elite. That’s why Mendes claims he, and other ground-and-pound wrestlers, would “kill” McGregor and quickly derail his “hype train.”
“The guy’s got a huge hype train, he’s got a lot of publicity behind him. But honestly, if the UFC is smart, if [UFC president] Dana [White] is smart, they will not put him in with a guy like me. There are multiple guys who will beat this guy in the division. I think I would kill him,” Mendes told FoxSports.com. “Dennis Bermudez, Clay Guida, Nik Lentz, all these guys that are strong, solid wrestlers that can take a punch and keep coming and just have great gas tanks will destroy him.”
“I think the UFC needs to keep building him up. This guy’s obviously bringing a lot of attention to the division, a lot of attention to the sport, he’s a superstar now. I would love to get in there and dismantle the guy, which I would truly love to do, but I think if the UFC’s smart, they wouldn’t allow that.”
In MMA, matchups are almost everything. McGregor hasn’t been pitted against a top-tier grappler since joining the UFC four fights ago, so nobody has seen what “Notorious” can do off his back. In fact, through 18 professional fights (16-2), McGregor has finished 14 victims via some form of knockout.
Furthermore, McGregor’s two defeats came via submission.
Could a grappler be McGregor’s kryptonite? More importantly, how soon is the UFC willing to put their new golden boy at risk in order to find out?
Per usual, McGregor doesn’t seem to be too worried about much.
“4 fights in and I own the game,” McGregor tweeted Tuesday.