After months of tension an verbal jabs, Chad Mendes has finally begun to appreciate Conor McGregor's existence in the UFC featherweight division. The brash Irishman is set to take part in the main event of the UFC's self-proclaimed biggest show of the year against Jose Aldo, a contest that has attracted unprecedented attention to a division few focused on beforehand.
"Conor is a guy that I'd love to hate," Mendes told Fighthub.tv. "The guy runs his mouth and talks a lot of trash but the guy has ultimately brought a lot of attention to the UFC and to the division. He has four or five wins in a row. When I fought for the title the first time, that what I had."
Mendes admit that he would have preferred to gauge the Irishman's skill set by placing him against an experienced wrestler.
"There are guys saying he's skipped a lot. I would have liked to see his skills tested against a better wrestler. He says he's going to beat every guy they put in there with him and he's done it."
Asked to offer his thoughts on the UFC 189 main event, Mendes, who holds a unique perspective given his two previous fights with Aldo, revealed that the Brazilian's leg kicks would make the difference in this fight.
"I'm pretty excited about this fight. Both guys are very athletic. I've fought Aldo twice so I've felt his speed, his power. I think Conor's stance is going to be a little too wide for Aldo. He's going to chop his legs down a little bit. But McGregor has used his range very well with his punches so I'm excited."