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Faber: 'A bad match-up for McGregor is Chad Mendes on a full training camp'

‘The California Kid’ is angling for a shot at McGregor too.

URIJAH FABER IS adamant that the outcome of Conor McGregor’s bout at UFC 189 would have been different if his opponent Chad Mendes had been afforded more time to prepare.

After the withdrawal of Jose Aldo due to injury, Mendes stepped in on two weeks’ notice before losing to McGregor via second-round TKO last month in Las Vegas.

Faber is currently filming for the 22nd season of The Ultimate Fighter, in which he’ll feature as a coach. The coach of the opposing team is Conor McGregor.

Source: UFC - Ultimate Fighting Championship/YouTube

In an interview with Submission Radio, Faber said that in spite of a couple of minor scuffles with McGregor, the rival coaches have been getting along well on the show, which premieres on BT Sport 2 on 10 September at 4am Irish time.

“Conor and I have a funny relationship,” said Faber. “We like to talk crap to each other but I actually think he’s a decent dude. As a competitor, I think he’s a guy that likes to win so it makes for a good competition. I was pretty pumped about it.

“We’ve had it on a couple of occasions where we start talking and start into a physical confrontation. We’re both fighters and when personal space gets invaded… but we never really cross the line. Tempers never flare too bad.

“He can take a joke, I can dish it out and take a joke as well, so there’s a lot of banter back and forth, and hopefully down the line some sort of fight between us.”

UFC 128 Mixed Martial Arts Urijah Faber Source: AP/Press Association Images

Faber also mentioned that his next fight is likely to be in Vegas on 11 December for the TUF 22 finale — which will take place the day before McGregor’s UFC featherweight title bout against Jose Aldo at UFC 194.

That could potentially put Faber on standby to step in as a replacement should Aldo or McGregor be forced to pull out, rumours of which have been gaining momentum. If the chance to face McGregor arises, Faber says he won’t need to be asked twice.

McGregor was taken down on five occasions by Chad Mendes but avoided being submitted. However, while acknowledging that McGregor is not to be taken lightly, Faber believes that he’s capable of beating the Irishman by submission and so too is his team-mate, Mendes, with the benefit of a full training camp.

Faber: “I got into this sport to fight all the best guys and I think, match-up wise, as much as [Conor McGregor] is in denial about it, his grappling was exposed a little bit [against Chad Mendes].

UFC 189 Mixed Martial Arts Chad Mendes in Conor McGregor's guard at UFC 189. Source: John Locher

“He’s a big strong guy for the weight class, he knows how to stay in it, he knows how to capitalise, but our guy Chad rolled off the couch and basically had his way with him on the ground.

“I think it’s a good match-up. It’s a good match-up for me and it’s a fight that… we don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’d be all for it. Here’s the honest truth. I’m a former champion, a top contender for my entire career.

“I’m a very durable guy but I have, I think, the most submissions in Pride, UFC and WEC history, so that’s one of the things that would sell that and that’s one of the things that Conor, from what I’ve seen and from his past, his two losses are from submissions and you saw the way Chad was able to handle him on the ground. So for me it’s a good match-up.

“Now, is Conor a dangerous guy? He’s probably about, maybe 20lbs heavier than I am walking around, which means I’ll probably be a lot faster, he’ll probably be a little bit stronger. It would be a dangerous fight, of course, but for both of us. I’m confident I could submit him and I’m sure he feels like he could knock me out.

Conor McGregor Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor are scheduled to fight in Las Vegas on 12 December. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

“We both have trained in the other guy’s strengths. I think it would make an interesting match-up but the truth is that he’s got his hands full with [Jose] Aldo. That’s a big fight that’s going to happen. I need to focus on what’s at hand right now, which is my next fight.

“A bad match-up for him is my boy Chad Mendes on a full training camp. Chad last time was on a hunting trip and basically got pulled out of the brush to go fight for a world championship for a guy who’s very dangerous, and you saw what happened.”

As for his prediction for McGregor’s clash with Jose Aldo on 12 December, Faber is sticking with the Brazilian: “To be honest, the power that Conor has and you got to see it against Chad — even though he was a fatigued guy at the time, it was pretty impressive — but I’ve still got to say that Aldo is the more well-rounded fighter.

“People forget that Aldo actually got his start in jiu-jitsu, not kickboxing. He’s a very dangerous kickboxer but his grappling is top-notch as well. It’s going to be a very close fight but I’m going to give the edge to the champ, Jose Aldo.”

H/T: Submission Radio

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Paul Dollery

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