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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 21 August, 2019

Aldo's team-mate says McGregor's mind games have had no impact

Thales Leites: ‘Aldo’s mental game is too strong’.

UFC middleweight Thales Leites.
UFC middleweight Thales Leites.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

WHEN HE SPOKE to the media in Las Vegas recently, Conor McGregor said he knew Jose Aldo’s “mind was beat” during their UFC 189 media tour back in March.

Throughout the publicity tour — which culminated with McGregor snatching Aldo’s belt in Dublin — the 26-year-old Irishman regularly sought to antagonise the reigning UFC featherweight champion.

In just over four weeks’ time, Aldo and McGregor will clash in the main event at UFC 189 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas — on Saturday, 11 July.

But Thales Leites, one of Aldo’s team-mates at the Nova Uniao camp in Rio de Janeiro, says McGregor’s behaviour has had no impact on the champion’s state of mind.

“He [Aldo] looks excellent, like all the time — physically and mentally,” Leites told Submission Radio. “His mental game is too strong. It’s unbelievable seeing how he’s confident about himself every time.

“It doesn’t matter what situation he is in during training, he is always confident. You know, his fight style, everybody knows it, but his gameplan is awesome. It’s absolutely awesome.

“This fight will be amazing. We will see. Aldo, he’s ready for everything. Like I said, his mental game is perfect, and his strength, you know, he looks physically very well. He’s 100% and he will be 200% during the fight. You will see. Aldo will be on fire there.”

Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor exchange views during the UFC 189 media tour's visit to Dublin in March. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

As for his prediction for the 11 July showdown, Leites — who’s preparing to take on Michael Bisping in the main event at UFC Glasgow a week later — believes McGregor will be stopped in the third round.

“Still the third round,” said Leites. “You know, because the first round is more one to study each other, but after the first round it will be much more aggressive. Of course, everything can happen during the first round.

“Even the studying, keeping the distance and all the situations. You know, his opponent [McGregor] fights forward every time, and if he comes [close] he will receive a big shot for sure.”

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Paul Dollery

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