Conor McGregor’s former opponent Chad Mendes reckons he could struggle to replicate the skills he has shown at featherweight when he takes on Rafael Dos Anjos next month at UFC 196.
Mendes fought McGregor at UFC 189 when the American stepped in for the injured José Aldo to fight the Irishman at short notice. McGregor won via second round TKO.
Speaking on Chael Sonnen’s podcast, Mendes admitted that the struggles he felt against McGregor during their fight could be the same for McGregor as he moves up to 155 lbs.
“I think, just looking back on wrestling, when you go up a weight class and you’re wrestling guys that are 10 lbs bigger than you, especially 10 lbs of muscle bigger than you, that makes a huge difference,” Mendes said, “When I got in there and fought Conor, Conor’s quite a bit bigger than I am, and that’s something that takes energy out of you. You’re pushing against more muscle than you normally are. That’s something that tires you out.”
McGregor’s team have stressed in recent weeks that the weight change for their fighter will benefit him. The Irishman last fought at lightweight in 2012, when he held the Cage Warriors Fighting Championship lightweight and featherweight belts.
Mendes still despite this has his doubts.
Meanwhile, UFC president Dana White has revealed that McGregor tried to bet him $3 million that he would knock out Chad Mendes in the second round in their bout at UFC 189.
“He tried to bet my partner and I, Lorenzo (Fertitta) $3 million that he would knock out Mendes in the second round,” White revealed, “Thank god we didn’t bet him because he knocked out Chad Mendes in the second round. He’s done everything he said he would do.”
Loaded sports writer Pearse Corcoran has covered news, sport and entertainment for several national newspapers and radio stations in Ireland. Follow him on Twitter at @PearseCorcoran