Conor McGregor: 4 minutes of the first round, Chad Mendes will be unconscious
A change in opponents has not rattled Conor McGregor’s confidence one bit as he shifts from facing Jose Aldo to fighting Chad Mendes next weekend at UFC 189.
Like the rest of the world, McGregor found out on Tuesday that Aldo is withdrawing from the fight due to bruised ribs and cartilage damage the featherweight champion suffered in training a week ago.
Now McGregor faces Mendes with the interim title up for grabs and says Aldo dropping out of the fight just proves who was scared and who was ready to go on July 11.
"If a man is scared for his life, we cannot force him to step inside and face me," McGregor said on "SportsCenter" when the news broke. "I feel (Aldo) is afraid. The doctors have cleared him to fight, it’s a bruise, but he has still pulled out. So rightfully so, the belt should be taken from him and we should contest for the interim belt, or in my opinion, the real belt."
McGregor believes he saw cracks in Aldo’s mental makeup during their world tour to promote the fight in March.
"I just feel he was beaten mentally before I had the chance to beat him physically," McGregor said. "I felt even through the world tour and all the buildup he was looking for his way out, and thankfully for him, his coach and his team, they have found their way out."
While McGregor goes from facing a polished Muay Thai striker like Aldo to a former NCAA wrestling All-American in Mendes, he doesn’t see any reason to panic.
"I am confident going in against any man on the roster. I feel I am number one on the roster. That is why an opponent change does not matter," McGregor said. "Essentially the opponent is an illusion in there. It’s you versus you, so it doesn’t matter who is across from me July 11. I will charge forward, I will put the pressure on, and I will get the victory."
Now that McGregor has moved on to Mendes, he’s shifted his focus to the powerhouse wrestler ranked No. 1 in the division coming off a knockout victory against Ricardo Lamas in April.
Mendes has been champing at the bit to face McGregor ever since the outspoken Irishman arrived in the UFC, and now he’ll get his wish.
McGregor doesn’t expect anything much to change facing Mendes versus Aldo and sees the result coming in the exact same way.
"I’m gonna demolish him. I’m gonna rip his head off," McGregor said.
"I’ll give Mendes — I feel the two of them are similar — I feel four minutes of the first round. Like I said, the opponent is an illusion. The shots I have visualized landing on Jose, I visualize landing on Chad also. I feel the outcome will be the same. Four minutes of the first round, Chad will be unconscious."