Mendes vs. McGregor Results: Winner, Recap and Reaction from UFC 189

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistJuly 12, 2015

USA Today

Conor McGregor told anyone who would listen that he was going to beat Chad "Money" Mendes. In the main event at UFC 189 Saturday night, he backed up the talk with a second-round TKO win over Mendes in the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas. 

UFC on Fox Sports tweeted out the result:


CONOR MCGREGOR is your new interim champion!! TKO in the 2nd round over Chad Mendes. What a finish #UFC189

Those who said Mendes could take down McGregor were proven correct rather quickly. Those who said McGregor could spring right back up were also correct. Mendes got McGregor to the mat early in the first round, but The Notorious One worked to his feet and the fight went back to stand-up exchanges. 

The takedowns weren't done yet, though. Mendes went on to take down McGregor twice more in the opening frame. He ended the round on top and doing damage to a bloodied McGregor. 

Mendes once again went to the wrestling in the second frame. After McGregor landed a few strikes on the feet, Mendes scored another takedown and went to work with elbows to McGregor.

McGregor's knockout power proved to be too much, however. After the two fighters scrambled to their feet late in the second round, McGregor started throwing combinations with a great sense of urgency. Mendes had the early edge, but the 26-year-old Irishman got the decisive blow when he caught his opponent with a left-handed punch to the jaw. Mendes fell to the floor, ultimately causing Herb Dean to call an end to the fight. 

"I knew I was going to prove to people I’m a true fighter. It doesn’t matter who it is," McGregor said after the fight, per MMAFighting.com.

The win marks the official dawning of a UFC star in McGregor. The Irishman has everything a fighter needs to become a cash cow for the organization—a divisive personality, endless confidence and an exciting fighting style that saw him finish four out of his five UFC opponents in the lead-up to this fight. 

As Bleacher Report UK noted, the man can even fill out a venue to watch him stand on a scale:

B/R Football @brfootball

#McGregor v #Mendes weigh-in—picture from our man in Las Vegas, @jeremybotter #UFC189 http://t.co/Isov3MDyiF

Now, he can add the ability to beat a wrestler to his resume. 

After all, that was the question on everyone's mind heading into the match. The dynamic striker had never seen a wrestler of Mendes' caliber. McGregor was comfortable with the questions, though.

"This is part of the business. People want questions answered,” McGregor said per Tristen Critchfield of Sherdog.com. “That’s what makes money. People are interested to see. I’m happy that people have questions. If they didn’t have these questions, it wouldn’t generate as much interest. It’s part of the game, and I’m OK with it.”

The questions for McGregor aren't done yet, though. In fact, the biggest one still looms: Is he better than featherweight champion Jose Aldo?

The Brazilian was supposed to be McGregor's opponent Saturday, but an unfortunate rib injury forced him off the card. 

It's a question that will ultimately be answered. Dana White shed some light on the plans for McGregor going forward, per MMA Fighting:

MMAFighting.com @MMAFighting

White said if McGregor beats Mendes, it’s an even bigger fight against Aldo. He said the UFC will spend even more money on promotion.

The Irishman's victory will only make Aldo-McGregor an even bigger affair than it was before. Heading into UFC 189, it was about the bad blood between the two. There was still some mystery as to whether McGregor was truly an elite fighter. 

Now that question is out the window. Interim titles might not mean much, but in this case, it's a symbol of McGregor's legitimacy. With the added intrigue of McGregor proving himself against a quality opponent like Mendes, the anticipation for Aldo-McGregor goes through the roof. 

The Irishman should be savoring the opportunity to once again answer people's questions. 


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