Everybody is curious to see how Conor McGregor handles the wrestling pedigree of Chad Mendes at UFC 189, but the latter’s coach is reminding folks that he better worry about “Money’s” hands as well.
Since McGregor has yet to fight a high level wrestler in the Octagon, questions remain, for some, as to whether he is really good enough to be a long standing champ. Jose Aldo isn’t known for taking opponents down, sure, but his wrestling defense is ridiculously good. Thus, this is a key reason why he’s been able to defeat the likes of Frankie Edgar, Ricardo Lamas, and Mendes, among several others.
Since Mendes is a very good wrestler, and has said he plans to put McGregor on his back, much of the pre-fight narrative is tied to wrestling. Recently, Mendes’ jiu-jitsu coach Fabio “Pateta” Prado spoke to MMA Fighting.com, and while he acknowledged that his fighter’s wrestling will play a key role in the bout, he also said this:
“Chad wants to trade punches with him first. His hands are good,” Prado said. “He traded punches with Jose Aldo for five rounds. One round with McGregor is not a problem.
“He will find some holes in the first round. Chad is a scary guy, he has heavy hands. McGregor will change his mind after Chad lands the first punch. Those who trained and fought him know that. Ricardo Lamas, Clay Guida and others with a good chin went down. Aldo is the only one who didn’t go down, but Aldo is Aldo. This trash talker will feel Chad’s hands and ask himself ‘what the f–k is this? This little guy has got some power’. He hits hard, man.”
Indeed he does. Now obviously, McGregor boosters and observers will point out that “Notorious” is a big and lengthy featherweight, whose striking game is much different than the other men Mendes has faced. So, the argument being, that if Mendes looks to trade standing, it’s not going to go well.
But, it remains to be seen how McGregor’s stand-up looks, once he’s faced with a legit wrestling threat. Will he be able to fire off the highlight reel shots he’s become famous for? Guess we’ll find out on Saturday night.
UFC 189 will be hosted by the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.