Conor McGregor simultaneously made history and delivered on his massive hype when he became the first-ever interim UFC featherweight champion by stopping Chad Mendes (video highlights here) in the main event of last night’s (Sat., July 11, 2015) UFC 189 pay-per-view (PPV) from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
But there were still questions left to be answered for ‘Notorious,’ because although he stayed calm in the face of adversity, he was routinely grounded by NCAA All-American wrestler Mendes, who controlled much of the fight on the ground up until gassing and getting picked apart late in the second.
In a backstage interview last night, top-ranked featherweight Frankie Edgar gave McGregor credit for keeping composure against Mendes’ mat game, but noted he also took some hard punches:
“He was able to I guess keep Chad at bay, but he was eating some big shots. I was just impressed how, you know, when he did get back to his feet he was composed.”
Edgar, who was cageside to congratulate McGregor and challenge him next, wanted to replace champion Jose Aldo, but Mendes ultimately got the call. He believes that the longtime Brazilian champ could be out for some time with his rib injury, so he thinks he and ‘Notorious’ should duke it out first:
“I do. I actually went up to the cage. I told Conor congrats, and why don’t me and him do it before Aldo, because who knows how long he’s going to take. Let me and him figure this out.”
But Edgar said he wouldn’t beg his employers for the fight, as he’s played that game only to be rejected many times before. Despite the potentially discouraging wait, ‘The Answer’ believes he’ll eventually get the shot he wants:
“Oh man, I feel like it’s like beating a dead horse. They know what I want, and I seem not to get what I want. But my time’s gonna come.”
Perhaps Edgar was passed over for the interim shot because of his perceived lack of finishing ability, but he has put away both Cub Swanson and B.J. Penn with devastating ground-based performances in the last year. He’d certainly be looking to do the same to McGregor, who despite an excellent display of striking, showed that he could be taken down with ease.
And when Edgar finally gets his chance to face, he thinks he’ll bring not only the wrestling to grind out McGregor, but the gas tank that Mendes lacked:
“I don’t know. I move a little more than Chad, but I think my takedowns are there like his. I feel like I got good ground and pound, and I don’t really slow down too much, you know?”