Clay Guida on McGregor vs Mendes
By Clay Guida
Truthfully, I’m more excited to see Mendes vs McGregor than I was to see Aldo vs McGregor. I fought Chad Mendes and he is undoubtedly one of, if not the best athlete I have fought in my career. Chad’s wrestling ability is no joke, he’s a beast. From a purely stylistic standpoint, I think this is the better fight. Conor will be tested more against Chad than he would’ve been against Jose. Conor's gameplan is now drastically altered with Chad in and Jose out.
I think it’s great to see a guy like Conor get tested stylistically against a fighter like Chad which is in my opinion the worst possible matchup for Conor in the UFC FW division. Chad is a friend, I’ve fought him, trained with him, and lived with him. He has proven through immense UFC success to be a more well-rounded fighter on paper than Conor. It’s going to be interesting to see how Conor handles Chad’s relentless takedown assault and his quick and increasingly heavy hands. I know this fight will deliver for the UFC fanbase because both of them are always involved in extremely exciting fights.
I do not believe Chad’s cardio will be a liability. I have heard many voice concerns in regards to a potential lack of conditioning due to the short notice nature of this bout. My take is quite different. I know for a fact that he is always in shape, in the gym and working to evolve his phenomenal skill set.
Chad is a completely different fighter than Jose is. As mixed martial artists, they are the definition of polar opposites. Jose is long and can strike with speed precision and explosiveness. Chad is built like a tank and moves with vicious quickness that can cause the fight to end typically in 1 of 2 way. A vicious overhand right after faking his single leg takedown, or brutal ground and pound that I can say from personal experience is more devastating than anything I have experienced in the cage. Here is a fact, Conor has not prepared to fight Chad Mendes or anyone remotely like him for that matter. Due to obvious time constraints, Conor will most likely not be able to find a training partner to mimic chads style with his physique and dimensions. Sparring partners like Mendes are not readily available.
Conor will try and get inside Chad’s head, mess with his psyche. I have never seen anyone better at this element of the game. I want to say that Chad is not going to let Conor dictate the fight or throw him off mentally, but that will be Chad’s biggest challenge in this fight. You can count on Chad taking this fight to the ground early and often. He’s a grinder and he won’t take his foot off the gas for 25 minutes. Obviously I have yet to get in the octagon with Conor (although I’d love to) but from watching him fight, it is apparent that he is one of the hungriest fighters this sport has ever seen.
Conor’s has never faced a fighter as complete and dangerous as Chad. He’s never faced a wrestler in the same neighborhood as Chad, and he has not fought anyone who hits as hard as Chad. These are the reasons I am more excited for this matchup than the previous. We are going to see what Conor is made of, he talks a lot of smack and is unquestionably a master of mind games. Let's see if he can back it up and claim the featherweight belt like he has been guaranteeing for the past year. The only way Conor takes this fight is if Chad falls victim to his dangerous mental warfare and decides to try and slug it out on the feet with him. My take, Chad overwhelms Conor with athleticism, speed, power and most importantly WRESTLING. Chad wins this in the 4th by submission.