McGregor says Mendes is making excuses

UFC: Emotional Kevin Lee reacts to his loss against Rafael Dos Anjos

UFC interim featherweight champion Conor McGregor has hit back at claims that his victory over Chad Mendes at UFC 189 was purely a result of the latter's extremely short preparation period.

Mendes took the fight on ten days notice after full featherweight champion Jose Aldo pulled due a rib injury incurred during training.

The stocky, heavily-muscled Mendes, who had been filming a hunting programme and not training when he receieved the offer to replace Aldo, went on to lose via second-round knock-out.

Mendes seemed to lack his usual ox-like stamina in the bout; leading some – including Mendes and his fellow Team Alpha Male members – to attribute the defeat to his brief training camp.

Others have insisted that it was McGregor’s body kicks and punches which sapped his opponent’s energy, and the fighter agrees with this theory.

“You cannot condition the body for those shots. Show me better bodywork in the history of the sport. Show me where body-shooting like that has shut down a man so quickly,” he told journalists during a press conference.

“It’s an excuse and there will always be excuses, but the body shots did the damage. The pressure did the damage.

“You cannot understand the pressure you are under until you are in there. And when you are in there and you are feeling the ball of the foot, the heel, the first, the elbow, the knee, the octagon awareness, the high fight IQ.

“Until you are in there and you can feel that, you will never understand. So Chad can says its cardio but me and Chad know better. I cannot blame him for using an excuse.

“He went from $48 000, $48 000 to half a million flat. So why would he not want another opportunity for that. It is what it is, but it had nothing to do with cardio.

“The fight was wrapped up within the first two minutes. I ran over, I shut him down, the body shots wrapped him up. He got a takedown and I feel that was him, that was his success.

“He could go back to the American wrestling community and be like ‘I got him’ down at least. But what does that mean in a fight to the death.

“That means nothing to me. Me and Chad know the condition he was in and what put him out. I shut his body down and I beheaded him the left hand.”

McGregor has claimed he also suffered an injury during his training camp, and could only start throwing kicks and training wrestling two weeks before the bout.

The out-spoken Irishman went on to say that he was unimpressed with the punching power of Mendes, who has seven of his 20 matches by knockout.

“He called himself the Mike Tyson of the featherweight division so I marched forward and said ‘what you got’,” McGregor said.

“’I’m standing right here in the pocket. You say youre Mike Tyson, let’s see what you got’. He felt like a flyweight and he hit like a strawweight.”