On Wednesday’s UFC 194 conference call with the four fighters comprising the main and co-main events, Conor McGregor got in a few barbs on his competition. And it wasn’t just Jose Aldo that the Irishman was after.
He couldn’t resist taking a free shot at Chad Mendes, whom McGregor beat at UFC 189 after Aldo dropped out with a rib injury.
McGregor, who was cageside at UFC 179 in October of last year when Aldo last defended the featherweight belt against Mendes, was asked if seeing the fight up close in Rio gave him anything to take away from it.
"I tell you what, I look at that fight ringside and thought to myself, wow, this Chad Mendes guy, he hits like an animal," McGregor said. "He’s a dangerous, dangerous man. Then I went in there [against him] myself and realized he hits like a bitch.
"And if anything it showed me that these people aren’t on my level."
McGregor is set to clash with Aldo at UFC 194 on Dec. 12, in what will be one of the biggest events of 2015. Mendes will be fighting Frankie Edgar in the main event of The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale the night prior, on Dec. 11.
McGregor has said that he would like to collect not only the 145-pound belt, but also the lightweight title, challenging the winner of the Donald Cerrone-Rafael dos Anjos fight on Dec. 19. Yet the night prior to his fight with Aldo is a high-end featherweight battle between Frankie Edgar and Chad Mendes, which has obvious title implications.
Asked who he liked in that fight between Mendes and Edgar, McGregor said it was wait and see, but that his next challenger could potentially come from that fight.
"I think they’re fairly similar opponents," he said. "I think that Frankie might train his wrestling a little bit better than Chad, but I feel Chad has a lot more athletic, a lot more powerful. It’s an interesting one, but really we’ll see how it plays out.
"If that can be an exciting fight, well then maybe that’s the one, but I’d like to sit and wait for that and watch that lightweight title fight [between Cerrone and Dos Anjos in Orlando] next week. I’m hoping that’s a nice war that gets the fans excited, and we can go and collect that second belt. We’ll see how it plays out."