Friday 24 November 2017

Chad Mendes: McGregor is the lazy type of fighter I like to knock out

Chad Mendes and Conor McGregor
Chad Mendes and Conor McGregor

JOE CALLAGHAN reports from Las Vegas

CHAD MENDES has insisted he can - and will - knock Conor McGregor out in Saturday's UFC 189 showdown in Las Vegas.

The American, who was a late replacement on the bill-topping bout when Jose Aldo pulled out through injury, insisted he was more than ready for the interim featherweight title fight.

In his last public warm-up at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in front of a raucous crowd, Mendes said he was confident that he can inflict the first loss of McGregor's UFC career - with a knockout.

"I feel comfortable anywhere this fight goes," said the No.1 ranked featherweight. "I feel that I can knock Conor out. He's the kind of fighter that likes to stand and strike. He's got good distance but the thing is he gets hit a lot in fights. He drops his hands and gets lazy in there.

"When you get a guy like that, who is taller than me, that's where I lay the hammer down. I have power with both hands. I can finish a fight on my feet. I feel I can finish the fight down on the ground or on my feet."

Mendes insisted the late call-up and shorter preparation won't be a factor in Saturday's fight, which is on course to break all-time gate-receipt records for the UFC with takings expected to top $7 million.

"I'm feeling damn good. I think from what I had, the base I had built, jumping into the two and a half week camp I feel tight, I feel explosive. I don't feel full of injuries or beat up. It's always just exciting to get in when there's so much hype around a fight. When you've got someone feeding your fire, it certainly makes for a more interesting camp."

Mendes joked that the abbreviated preparation time saved him from more prolonged exposure to McGregor's goading and trash talk.

"It's all part of it," said the 30-year-old Californian. "I've been a top-level competitor my entire life so I've dealt with guys like that all the time. I've seen it in the past, I get in there and that's where I deal with it. I beat them up. It's all part of it. I know this guy is going to talk all his trash. Luckily for me I didn't have to listen to all his s*** through a entire training camp."

Mendes scoffed at the reports that McGregor had tried to persuade Dana White and UFC chiefs into a $3million bet to finish Saturday's fight by the second round.

"That's another way for Conor to build this fight up," he said. "I mean make the bet or not. I'll do what I'm gonna do - get in there and whoop this dude's ass. I know the guy loves money, I love money. But if he wants to focus on that let him do it while I'm beating a hole in his face."

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