Conor McGregor rode a wave of hype into UFC 189, living up to the talk and stopping Chad Mendes to win the UFC interim featherweight title in the pay-per-view main event on Saturday in Las Vegas.
McGregor recovered from a number of takedowns, coming back to batter away at his opponent with strikes to earn the technical knockout at 4:57 of the the second round.
“I've been hearing all the time that I'm being protected from this kind of opponent; that I was gifted a title shot,” McGregor said in his post-fight interview. “It doesn't matter who it is, I'm a professional. I come in here and take care of business.”
McGregor charged at his opponent early on, looking to get in his head by taunting Mendes thereafter. Mendes, however, secured two takedowns in the first round and opened up a cut over McGregor’s right eye, using ground and pound. The opening frame finished with Mendes in an advantageous position.
Mendes again scored a takedown early in the second round. From there and for several minutes, he landed a number of strikes from McGregor’s guard until the Irish fighter worked his way back to his feet.
As the two stood, McGregor went into attack mode and clobbered Mendes against the cage. After a series of strikes, McGregor landed a left cross that dropped Mendes the floor. He followed up with strikes on the ground before the referee stepped in to stop the contest.
“Nobody can take that left hand,” McGregor said. “Everybody breaks, and he broke.”
Now that McGregor holds UFC interim gold, he’ll wait for Jose Aldo to recover from a rib injury and the two will meet down the line to unify the titles.
McGregor, however, had no pity for Aldo and the injury that took the Brazilian out of the UFC 189 main event just weeks ago.
“In my opinion, Jose went running,” he said. “I had bigger injuries leading up to this fight than that rib and I stayed in.”
With the win, McGregor improves his record to 18-2, keeping his UFC record perfect at 6-0.
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