Featherweight title challenger Conor McGregor has convened his team of coaches, teammates and training partners in Las Vegas, the site of his UFC 189 interim championship bout against Chad Mendes on Saturday, and the European crew has been hard at work. McGregor’s striking coach Owen Roddy spent a month in Las Vegas and recently gave some insight into Camp McGregor and their perspective on the short-notice fight with Mendes.
As far as Roddy is concerned, Mendes is a dangerous and powerful opponent, but will suffer against McGregor for lack of size and creativity. "Mendes has a powerful overhand right, and that’s really it," he told Tom Rooney.
"For me, I just don’t think he’s going to be able to get close to Conor. Not only does Conor have very long arms, but he fights at range, where he bounces in and out, so I think Mendes will have a hard time closing the distance."
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Roddy doesn’t believe that anyone can stand up to the power strikes of his fighter, including Mendes. Eventually, he said, Mendes will get caught, and that will spell disaster.
"In a 25-minute fight, the odds of you being hit in the face is very high, especially against Conor McGregor. Once he does that, the end is near," he predicted.
"It’s matter of how long Mendes can stay in there, but nobody can take a beating from Conor for 25 minutes."
Whereas McGregor’s team believes that they’ll see Mendes’ predictable attacks coming from a mile away, Roddy believes that "Notorious" will use his unconventional style to befuddle "Money" Mendes. "Conor is very creative, and you never know what he’s going to want to do," he said.
"He’s up all night thinking of MMA, and it’s on his mind 24/7. So when we’re on the pads, I’m basically a facilitator. Because we’ve done this together for so long, I tend to be able to pick up what he wants to do very quickly. I’ll throw in the odd idea, and if he likes it, he’ll keep. If he doesn’t, he’ll throw it away."
Roddy conceded that the tumult of the past couple weeks with featherweight champ Jose Aldo pulling out of his scheduled fight with McGregor because of serious rib injuries, and Mendes stepping in to replace him, has been a bit much. At the end of it all, he insisted that McGregor is simply too confident to let any of that interfere with his positive thinking.
"It was a bit crazy, all right," he said.
"[Conor] makes it clear all the time that there is no opponent. He really believes that. He believes once he goes in, performs his best, there’s nobody that can touch him. I’m sure it annoyed him a little bit, but it wouldn’t have got to him too much, to be totally honest."