Conor McGregor's run-up to UFC 194 was easily one of the greatest rises to stardom in the history of MMA. Starting his journey as a regional star from Ireland in 2013 to going on to become one of the biggest starts to look out for entering 2016, the journey had been phenomenal.
Conor McGregor in his run had defeated Dennis Silver, Dustin Poirier, and even future featherweight champion, Max Holloway. However, his most memorable fight was easily one of UFC 189 against Chad Mendes. Originally scheduled to be a featherweight championship bout between then champion, Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor, this fight came up when Aldo had to pull out.
Aldo was replaced by division stalwart and former title challenger, Chad Mendes. Conor McGregor was expected to blow past the NCAA wrestler and put up a massive promo for his future fight against Aldo. He did manage to do the latter but the fight was by no standard a blowout.
Chad Mendes turned out to be Conor McGregor's toughest challenge. McGregor on most scorecards actually lost the first round of the fight. He found it difficult to deal with the wrestling game of Mendes and didn't look as sharp as he always did. In the second round, Mendes gassed-out and was knocked out but for a scary few minutes, the entirety the fight seemed to be going against McGregor. The fight was such that many wanted to see a rematch.
The legend of "Conor McGregor can't wrestle"!!!
The fight was the reason why the great Conor McGregor can't-wrestle myth started. The fight also raised suspicion as to whether or not McGregor would be able to deal with Aldo, a fighter who had defeated Mendes. McGregor shut all the critics with his massive win at UFC at UFC 194 but the excitement that fight created is stilla legend in the world of MMA.
Mendes didn't really have a great runpost the win. He tested positive for a banned substance and was suspended for 2 years. He returned and secured a win over Myles Jury before being defeated by furture- featherweight chamapion, Alexander Volkansovski. Following the loss he announced his retirment from the sport.
Post-retirement he even wrote a lengthy post about the fight on social media. "So crazy to think it’s been 4 years today since I shared the octagon with @thenotoriousmma . What a crazy experience. Conor and Aldo were scheduled to fight, but due to a rib injury Aldo was forced out of the fight. I got the call from Dana on 10 days notice and went straight from fishing mode into training mode. It was the first time the UFC had live performers for our walk out songs. Sinead O’Connor sent Mcgregor out and my boy @aaronlewismusic sent me out with “country boy”. Not sure where the last 4 years went but that’s definitely a fight I’ll never forget!"
Do check out the legendary fight in the video above.Published 23 May 2020, 13:54 IST