LUCAN resident Conor McGregor is aiming to continue his meteoric rise to the top of the UFC with his bout against Chad Mendes for the interim featherweight title at UFC 189 this Saturday night at the MGM in Las Vegas.
With the late withdrawal of McGregor’s previously planned opponent, featherweight champion Jose Aldo, due to a rib injury suffered in training, Mendes stepped in at the final hour to ensure a fight went ahead.
It will be the first time McGregor and Mendes meet in the octagon but the two have had an ongoing war of words which started long before this fight was confirmed.
The Dublin fighter has said of his opponent: “Chad’s a 5ft 6in overblown bodybuilder. I’ve an eight-inch reach advantage on him. I’ll tower over him.”
In reply, Mendes has spoken about McGregor a number of times leading up to the fight.
“Conor made it very personal, I don’t like him, he doesn’t like me. I’m going to be looking to knock him out,” he said.
The 30-year-old is a former All American Wrestler from his college days who has gone on to introduce serious power to his locker, landing a number of knockouts throughout his career.
He has only lost to one man, Aldo, and was perhaps unlucky to lose that fight, bringing the Brazilian to the brink of defeat in their fight back in October.
On stepping in for the Brazilian for UFC 189 main event, Mendes has said: “I met up with Dana [White] in Vegas. He told me Aldo was injured and asked could I make the weight in a couple of weeks, I said ‘hell yeah’.”
Continuing on about the Dubliner he’ll face come Saturday, Mendes said: “Conor McGregor has never fought a guy that knows he’s the baddest man on the planet,
“I have that mentality. He can say what he wants, he can do what he wants, it’s not going to bother me, when we step into the octagon, I’m looking to rip his head off.”
McGregor, however, a man who seemed to be unfazed by anything, particularly a change of opponent, hit back.
“If you can lay claim that you are number one then it should not matter who is standing across from you on the night.
“I said one by one I would take every single one of them out whether it is Chad first and Jose next or Jose now and Chad next, I will get every single one of them, I said I would do that and I will do that.”