The UFC have released UFC 189’s memorable headlining matchup between Chad Mendes and Conor McGregor in full ahead of UFC 229.
And what a night it was.
It seems like an eternity ago now, but back in mid-2015, when McGregor had yet to earn his first UFC title, a 145lb title showdown with the long-time champion José Aldo was seen as the biggest fight in the history of the division.
The pair embarked on a wild world tour and while the Brazilian’s English was practically non-existent, that didn’t stop him and Conor from slowly building one of the most heated rivalries of the modern era.
Just a few weeks out from the event, however, disaster struck as Aldo was forced to pull out – citing a rib injury. In his place, perhaps the worst stylistic matchup for the Irishman was selected, powerhouse wrestler Chad Mendes.
Mendes had only dropped losses to Aldo in his career at this point. Widely considered to be the divisions finest wrestler and most powerful knockout artist – it was fair to say that Conor certainly received his fair share of respect for taking the fight and when it finally went down on the night, a had to overcome some serious adversity before getting the job done.
Lawler/MacDonald II was always going to be a near-impossible co-main event to follow up but I’d argue that this matchup had all the drama necessary to do a fantastic job at it.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena