Following Conor McGregor’s victory over Dustin Poirier at UFC 178, many observers have claimed the win proves all the hype surrounding “Notorious” is justified. Well, evidently Chad Mendes wasn’t exactly won over by Mr. McGregor’s performance.
Now, it’s worth noting right off the top, that McGregor has publicly stated in the past that he doesn’t think much of the #1 featherweight contender. Case in point, recently he argued he would “maul” the Team Alpha Male member. McGregor has also taken aim at the fact Mendes is just 5’6, while noting he has an extensive reach advantage over the powerful wrestler.
In a recent interview with FOX Sports, Mendes talked about McGregor and the latter’s dramatic rise up the rankings. After noting he isn’t bothered by the featherweight’s shots at his height, Mendes stated:
“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 Dana 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 said. “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.”
While some people may question whether Mendes would in fact destroy McGregor, there are indeed many who want to see him face a top flight wrestler, before they’re completely sold on his contender status. Many rising stars have had their road to championship glory end, after running into a wrestler with stopping power.
Of course, for now, Mendes has to remain focused on champion Jose Aldo, who he’ll fight on October 25th at UFC 179. The 16-1 Mendes has locked up another bout with Aldo thanks to a five fight win streak. If you’re unaware, Aldo KO’d Mendes in their first encounter, which took place in January, 2012.
Now Aldo is certainly someone who has already passed the wrestler litmus test, in scoring wins over the likes of Frankie Edgar, Ricardo Lamas and yes, Mendes.