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UFC 189: McGregor vs Mendes


Who wins and how?  

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OK balls to this this drug test stuff with Aldo. Let's try and be optimistic about this one. Just four weeks away!





Conor McGregor vs Chad Mendes - Interim Featherweight Title

Robbie Lawler vs Rory MacDonald - Welterweight Title

Dennis Bermudez vs Jeremy Stephens

Gunnar Nelson vs Brandon Thatch

Brad Pickett vs Thomas Almeida



Matt Brown vs Tim Means

John Howard vs Cathal Pendred

Mike Swick vs Alex Garcia

Cody Garbrandt vs Henry Briones



Neil Seery vs Louis Smolka

Yosdenis Cedeno vs Cody Pfister


Four weeks.




Aldo vs McGregor is absolutely the fight of 2015 for me. Easy. This might sound almost blasphemous to some but I'm looking forward to this more than Mayweather vs Pacquiao. It definitely isn't as big a fight as that was, obviously, but unlike Floyd vs Manny this one should deliver big-time on the night. And it's happening while they're both at or close to their best.


I'm sure like everyone else, my arse will be clenching every time this thread is bumped but let's just hope that this one stays together over the next four weeks. Because it's genuinely the most excited I've been for a fight since UFC 100 and Lesnar vs Mir 2. And somewhat spookily, this fight is happening six years to the exact date of UFC 100.


So Conor McGregor burst onto the UFC scene in April 2013. There was a bit of hype from Irish and UK fans but not anything out of the ordinary. He was buried on the Facebook prelims of a FUEL TV card in Sweden. Hardly the biggest platform. But somehow he pretty much managed to steal the show in blasting out Marcus Brimage inside a round and then screaming "HEY DANA...SIXTY G'S BABY" in his post-fight interview. He followed that up with a great story at the press conference about how he'd been on the dole prior to his UFC debut and couldn't wait to "tell them to fuck off" now he'd made it to the big show.


The Notorious one had arrived...




"As far as I am concerned, Jose Aldo is a coaster. He coasts. He has not finished anybody. He has one finish in UFC history. One legit finish. That's it. I have four. Facts are facts. When I hit, they fall. When he hits, they survive. That's it. He has 25 minutes to hide that battle-worn chin from me. It won't happen. In 25 minutes, I will hit him and he will fall."


Since then he's gone from strength to strength, in the cage and out of it. He beat Max Holloway comfortably despite blowing his ACL midway through the fight. He "dragged the UFC back to Ireland by the scruff of the neck" and wiped out Diego Brandao in a couple of minutes. Made a step up in opposition look like anything but a step up when he squashed Dustin Poirier like he was Barry Horowitz. Then blasted Dennis Siver in Boston.


5-0 with four knockouts well within two years. And that's with a year on the shelf in there due to the knee injury.


Despite people bitching that he didn't deserve it, he'd more than done enough to warrant a title shot. Especially in a division where the champ already holds wins over all the other top contenders.




"He's just a fool. He's a fool. But with me, he's in deep shit. He's in deep shit. I was created in the streets. I'm a street fighter. I'm just going to run him over. I don't care. There's no friendship after that. Friendship is for him and his friends. This is totally different. Not with me."


Aldo is the greatest featherweight in MMA history today. He hasn't lost a fight in ten years. He's been the king of the 145lb division for six years. WEC champion and never lost the belt. First and only UFC featherweight champion since the title was created four years ago. Holds wins over the likes of Frankie Edgar, Urijah Faber, Chad Mendes x2, Kenny Florian, Mike Brown, Cub Swanson, Ricardo Lamas and Chan Sung Jung. He's indisputably the man at 145 until someone can stop him. He's a beast. And he's coming off what I thought was the 2014 FOTY in his incredible rematch against Chad Mendes.


The first real mentions of Aldo vs McGregor came after McGregor beat Poirier last September. But it was after the Siver fight in January where shit got real...




Within seconds of finishing off a bloody and battered Siver, McGregor was scaling the fence and getting right in Aldo's face at ringside. That took the Aldo vs McGregor fight, which at that point was just a possibility, over the edge and made the fight a must for the UFC to book.


Aldo, to the surprise of many, played his part and got in with the spirit of the promotion of the potential fight. Referring to McGregor as The Joker to his King.




Talks of holding a huge event in a Dublin stadium sadly fell apart but the fight got signed and they immediately took full advantage of the hype and buzz surrounding the fight. The UFC scheduled a massive UFC 189 Media World Tour. Something they'd never done for any single fight in the company's history.




It turned out to be a stroke of genius and provided more entertainment than most of the actual fight cards this year so far. The Rio and Dublin legs of the tour in particular were just crazy. Unlike any atmosphere I've ever seen for an MMA fight, ever.


There was even an Embedded series done to capture all the behind the scenes goodness. YouTube that shit if you haven't seen it.


They traded insults and mind games throughout the tour and both had their moments.






But by the end of the tour, with Dublin as the last stop, the jokey Aldo disappeared and he seemed genuinely a bit bothered and rattled by McGregor's antics. That's when McGregor went one step further and snatched Aldo's title from right in front of him...




Nutter. It was the perfect climax to an incredible media tour and kind of left the hype on a cliffhanger. It's been relatively quiet since then but it's got the feel of the quiet before a huge storm. With UFC 188 in the books now, the Aldo vs McGregor mayhem is about to pick up where it left off. And I can't bastard wait.


Phenomenal Aldo vs McGregor promo...




Seriously, I haven't been swept up in a fight like this in a long time. I'm buzzing even more for this than I was for Jones vs Cormier or either Silva vs Sonnen fight.




It's easy to forget but there's an undercard for this as well. And it's a good one.




The co-main event is Robbie Lawler vs Rory MacDonald 2. A rematch of their 2013 first fight at the UFC 20th Anniversary PPV. It was a very good and competitive fight but Lawler did enough to take two rounds and sealed the decision with a knockdown in the third round.




Since then Lawler has gone on to beat Jake Ellenberger, Matt Brown and Johny Hendricks to win the UFC title. This is his first defence and I actually think this might be his most difficult challenger of the current crop of welterweights.


Rory has looked great since the loss to Lawler. That loss seemed to be his turning point and he's notched impressive wins over Demian Maia, Tyron Woodley and Tarec Saffiedine over the last year or so.


As always with Rory though, weird fucker that he is, his odd personality outside the cage kind of overshadows his in-cage achievements. He's gone and got himself a terrible mohawk haircut and a shite new nickname. What the fuck is 'Red King' supposed to be?




I give up trying to figure the oddball fuck out. That's just Rory. He looks like Kendo Nagasaki without the mask in that picture actually.




Dennis Bermudez vs Jeremy Stephens has snuck up almost completely unnoticed but it's got all the makings of a show stealer. Even on a card like this. Can't go wrong with these two. Hopefully Bermudez can rebound in style here. He was on fire before the loss to Lamas. I've never liked Stephens either so I'd like to see Dennis The Menace smash him.


Gunnar Nelson vs John Hathaway is an interesting one. On pure skills I think Gunnar is the superior fighter but he's a small welterweight and Hathaway is a big strong 170. He could be very tricky for Gunnar to work his grappling heavy style against. He had big problems with Rick Story's physical strength and this could potentially go a similar way. I'd like to see Gunnar win though. Nothing against Hathaway but I find him beige as fuck. Nothing remarkable or even slightly interesting about him in the cage or out. He's like the British Kyle Noke.


Brad Pickett vs Thomas Almeida completes the PPV main card. And it should be all kinds of fun. Pickett is returning to bantamweight here after an unsuccessful run at flyweight. He never looked himself to me at 125 so I'm glad he's gone back up. Problem is he's fighting Almeida who will be a very tough opponent for Pickett.


Almeida is one of the hottest prospects in the sport right now. Just 23 years old and he's already 19-0 with 18 finishes. He's got really sharp standup and some slick BJJ. He's going to be a handful for a lot of guys. And considering Pickett's 36 years old and has been through the wars, I don't fancy his chances much in this one.


Even the prelims are decent on this card.


Brown vs Means is a step down in opposition for Brown after mixing with the likes of Hendricks and Lawler recently, but I like the matchup a lot. And don't sleep on Means. He's looked pretty great in his last couple of outings and this is his big opportunity against a name in the division. I definitely favour Brown but I could see this being a bit of a war.


Thatch vs Howard could be good. Thatch is in a weird spot. He had some hype on him and he was living up to it in his first couple of UFC fights but injuries ballsed him up and then he lost to Benson Henderson, a lightweight who was taking the fight on short notice, so that didn't look too good. I still think he's got some legit potential though. And John Howard is a difficult opponent. If Thatch looks good here it'll get him somewhat back on track.


Swick vs Garcia stands out just for the fact it involves Mike Swick! I honestly forgot he existed. TUF 1 will never die. Garcia is a fairly exciting fighter if I'm remembering right as well so this could be fun. Hopefully Swick's porcelain body will stay intact long enough for this fight to actually happen.


Seery vs Smolka on Fight Pass should be alright as well actually.


So there you have it. Not a bad little card, is it?



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The big news as far as this card goes is that Mike fucking Swick is fighting!


I honestly thought he'd retired! Last I heard he was putting together AKA Thailand, and building one of the biggest gyms on the planet.






He's been living the dream out there by the looks of it





Makes you wonder why he's bothering to come back really. He's also put together a short "embedded" style series to chart his return which is worth a watch;






There'll be more added no doubt.


It makes a nice change to see a guy who wasn't particularly top level actually look as though he's sorted outwith the cage. Good on him.

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Great opening post, Wand.


This is easily my most an anticipated fight of all time. It's not even close. Liddell vs. Wanderlei, Evans vs. Rampage, Mir vs. Lesnar 2, Serra vs. Hughes, Sonnen vs. Silva 2, nothing compares to how swept up I am in this. It's the most perfect storm they've ever had.


Aldo's incredible run as the champion, McGregor storming onto the scene the way he has, the media tour, Conor's innate ability to create these amazing promotional moments, the trash talk, the incredible documentary series, the wild variance on how people think the fight will play out; everything about it is absolutely perfect.


I feel like this video, a trailer for the MTV documentary that aired before Conor's UFC debut, is fascinating in retrospect.



"Who the fuck is Jose Aldo?"


Even back then he was showing signs of his psychopathic self belief. Not a single fight in the UFC and yet he was already talking about being willing to fight Aldo, "in a heartbeat." Incredible. It's absolutely amazing that it's happening little over two years later.


Also, because it never gets old, here's that Dublin press conference in full, for anyone who hasn't seen it, or anyone who wants their minds blown again.



Being there live, it was unbelievable. I think it was in that recent Ariel Helwani interview that Conor described it as a special experience for anyone who was in that room and he's absolutely spot on. It was fucking bonkers. If they were still on Spike TV, and they weren't as a diluted and overexposed as they are now, I genuinely think this could have done ridiculously high numbers. For all intents and purposes it should still do really well, but if the climate was better this would have easily broken the all time record.


I'll probably be posting in this thread regularly. The idea that my excitement could build any higher is almost unfathomable. I'm like a fucking kid, counting down the days. It's like every Christmas multiplied by every Wrestlemania.


Just imagine if he wins. Jesus Christ.

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From my perspective, Lesnar vs Mir 2 outstrips it in terms of anticipation. However, I can't think of many other MMA fights that rival it.


In terms of build, only the aforementioned Lesnar vs Mir 2 and Sonnen vs Silva 1 are in the same league. I don't think the fighters involved or the UFC could have promoted it better, and we are still a month away from fight night.


I favour Aldo to win, but I am far from confident in that prediction. They have created an atmosphere where the viewer is intrigued as to what is going to give. McGregor has yet to be exposed in the UFC, and carries himself with such an aura, that it is hard to picture him being humbled. There is enough distance between his previous losses, that they might have well happened to a different fighter. They are not part of his current identity. Aldo's results speak for himself. He has cleared out the division, and established himself as one of the most dominant and credible Champions in MMA History.


Add in the contrast between the two fighter's personalities, and the rabid fanbases, and it's promotional dynamite. UFC/MMA might not be as popular as it used to be, but it is still popular enough to strike a cord with the casual fan under exceptional circumstances. I think this is one of those occasions.

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Yeah, while you do that I'll kick over his brown bin.

I hope that's not a euphemism you filthy deviant.


Had to share this. 'No Easy Way Out' - the Conor Balboa highlight...




Love that. Makes me want to go out and run up hills and shit. I won't do it, but it makes me want to.

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Check out this photo that Jose posted on his Instagram.






Love that No Easy Way out montage. Just wish they'd interspersed some clips of Aldo in the Ivan Drago role, killing a bunch of dudes.


I think the contrasting training styles could be significant in the fight. Conor is extremely vocal about training smart and not getting the shit kicked out of him in the gym, whereas Aldo is most likely killing himself more than ever after how angry he seemed by the end of the media tour.


Could this be the night when all the wars in the gym finally catch up with Jose? I hope so.

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That picture is quality.


I think Aldo's training methods have been catching up to him for a while. I think he's had some issue with his back and/or neck for a few years. I remember Dana mentioning it once when he was talking about Aldo. He said something about Aldo having to go through some chiropractic procedure or something before he even starts camp just to help him through it. That's probably why he only fights twice a year or so and with big gaps in between his fights. It's amazing he still fights as well as he does really.

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Can't wait for this.  I don't stay up and watch UFC live so much anymore, and because of a lack of BT Sport, I don't tend to actually watch all that many events anymore (just read results etc).


However...Conor McGregor is an absolute star.  No matter what anyone says.  So no doubt I'll be watching this.  Also, back when I first started watching UFC a few years ago, Mike Swick was one of my absolute favourites (a main reason for my massive dislike of Dan Hardy too), so I'm really glad to see him back and hope that he's healthy.  At 35, it's not beyond him to make another good go of this and have one last decent run in him.  He's certainly got the skills.

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Even ignoring the main event, which I'm sure we'll be debating at length in the coming weeks, it's easy to forget that Lawler vs McDonald is on the bill too. Then going beyond that we have some of my favourite UFC fighters in Bermudez, Nelson, Almeida, Brown and Thatch (sorry guys, never heard of Mike Swick!) in action. This show is gonna fucking rock.

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Not caught the last PPV yet due to exams, but this one is huge, more hyped about this than Maywhether/Paq. Interestingly enough a few 'non-regular' UFC watchers have asked me at college if I'll be watching and whether I wanna do something in-terms of head out in town to watch it or get drinks in at home. Exciting stuff this.

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(sorry guys, never heard of Mike Swick!

Swick was one of the breakout guys from the first season of TUF, he's been ravaged with injuries in recent years though. Excitig fighter but i don't think he has much left.
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Swick is usually exciting to watch because he has power, speed and not the best chin so you always have the feeling the fight can end at any moment either in favour or against him.


Even after long layoffs he usually has fun fights. His fights with DaMarques Johnson and Matt Brown in recent years were awesome forgotten fights. All-action type fights.

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