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The champ is here

Conor McGregor is bringing a UFC belt back home to Ireland

The Notorious is the interim UFC featherweight champion.

– Paul Dollery reports from Las Vegas

CONOR McGREGOR IS the interim UFC featherweight world champion.

The Dubliner defeated Chad Mendes by TKO with just three seconds remaining in the second round of tonight’s UFC 189 main event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Billed as the toughest fight of his career, that proved to be the case as Mendes asked plenty of questions of the Irishman: most notably the wrestler one. But McGregor had the answers.

Mendes scored several takedowns and appeared to go very close with a guillotine attempt. Although the American had the better of the grappling exchanges, McGregor finally proved that he’s capable of seeing off the challenge of an elite wrestler.

After one big takedown in the first round, Mendes followed up with some ground-and-pound which left McGregor cut — for the first time in his career — around his left eye.

McGregor engaged in plenty of showmanship early on, taunting Mendes throughout the first round. A more serious Conor McGregor emerged for the second round, the majority of which he spent on his back as Mendes aimed to grind his way towards winning another round on the scorecards, having almost certainly taken the first.

But McGregor eventually got back to his feet and began to land strikes which left Mendes unsteady on his feet. Visibly jaded, Mendes fired back with lazy overhand rights while McGregor continued to land with more precision.

After dropping his opponent with a powerful left, McGregor pounced and unloaded with ground-and-pound before referee Herb Dean stopped the fight at the 4:57 mark, crowning McGregor as Ireland’s first ever UFC champion — albeit an interim one for now.


McGregor was joined by his family in the octagon as he raised the belt. He and Mendes left their differences in the past too, embracing in a show of respect that would have seemed unlikely during the hostile build-up to the bout.



Conor McGregor will now turn his attentions to a unification bout with the division’s other champion later this year.

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