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Dublin: 16 °C Monday 3 August, 2020

'It's a question I want to answer' - Can Conor McGregor beat a top wrestler?

Frankie Edgar or Chad Mendes? No problem, says the Dubliner.

Irish UFC star Conor McGregor.
Irish UFC star Conor McGregor.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

CONOR McGREGOR’S BIGGEST detractors have often questioned his ability to compete with elite wrestlers, but the Irish mixed martial arts star is eager to put those doubts to bed.

With a background in boxing, McGregor is one of the most impressive strikers in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Such has been the dominant nature of all five of his UFC wins so far, the Dubliner’s grappling hasn’t reared its head.

Although he’s shown glimpses of adept takedown defence, McGregor’s superb striking has got him to where he is today — one win away from being crowned the UFC’s featherweight world champion.

Some are adamant that McGregor’s weaknesses will be exposed when he goes up against a high-level grappler. That question might be answered when he takes on reigning title-holder Jose Aldo — a black belt in Brazilian jiu-itsu — in Las Vegas on 11 July.

But the top two contenders next in line in the UFC’s featherweight division — Frankie Edgar and Chad Mendes — are among the best wrestlers in the game, and McGregor is likely to cross paths with them eventually.

“That wrestler question is definitely one I want to answer,” McGregor told reporters in Las Vegas. “It’s a question the fans want answered, it’s a question the media want answered. How will he react?

“A guy asked me the other day, is it personal? Do you really want to get in and show everyone what you can do? It’s never personal, it’s business. Business is business, they want to see me tested against a wrestler. They believe that’s a question that’s yet to be answered. So if it’s good business, I’m in it.”

PA-13345668 Frankie Edgar could be next in line for a UFC featherweight title shot after McGregor versus Aldo. Source: John Amis/AP/Press Association Images

As for a potential meeting with Frankie Edgar or Chad Mendes, McGregor says he’s happy to fight either of them — if and when the opportunity arises — and isn’t too bothered about who’ll be first.

He said: “I think Frankie’s got a bit better boxing than [Chad Mendes], he puts his shots a little bit better than Chad. I think Chad is more just a wrestler with an overhand right. He swings his overhand, looks at the floor, closes his eyes and hopes for it to land.

“To me that’s novice. That’s day-one beginner stuff where I come from. Frankie’s a former champion but they’re both in the same bracket. It makes no difference. As long as I’m on the card, as long as it’s me fighting, it’s a big fight.”

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Paul Dollery

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