Let’s get some preliminary thoughts out of the way.
Yes I am deeply disappointed that Jose Aldo got injured before this fight.
Yes I beleive making this fight for an “interim belt” is just another cheap ploy to get Conor McGregor a belt with as little resistance as possible.
Yes, the Reebok uniforms are absolute garbage. Death row inmates walk the green mile with more dignity.
But I’m here to discuss something more specific: why Chad Mendes makes for a better fight than Frankie Edgar in replacing Jose Aldo.
I need to make this clear: Frankie Edgar is the true no. 1 featherweight behind Jose Aldo. In seven years he has only lost to Benson Henderson (in a division which he was undersized) and Jose Aldo (which he arguably outpointed). He is the only man not named Jens Pulver to beat BJ Penn at lightweight, knocked out an undefeated Gray Maynard, and made Cub Swanson and Urijah Faber look like amateurs.
But there’s no reason to have him fight Conor McGregor.
Frankie Edgar is the Junior Dos Santos of the featherweight division. Very few people want to see him fight for the title again but it’s undeniable he’s the best behind the champion. He also has an annoying habit of sending title hopefuls like Charles Oliveira and the aforementioned Swanson tumbling down the ladder.
The primary criticism against McGregor is that he is being protected by Dana White. Acknowledging it doesn’t make one a “hater” because it’s a provable fact. In a division in which the best fighters behind Jose Aldo have consistently been wrestlers (Edgar, Mendes, Lamas) it is bizarre that a fight with Dennis Siver of all people launched McGregor into title contention.
But if you want McGregor to “earn” his place against the champion . . . what’s the big difference between Mendes and Edgar? If a fighter with three first round finishes (one over Dustin Poirier) subsequently beat Chad Mendes, would you really say he doesn’t deserve a shot at Jose Aldo?
No, you wouldn’t.
Plus while Edgar is the better fighter Mendes is the more dangerous fighter.
He carries staggering knockout power, has increased dexterity in his left hand to the point that it looks sublime, and was the first guy that made Jose Aldo truly struggle from pillar to post with his striking (of all things).
McGregor will still have his chin, legs and takedown defense tested.
So while Mendes getting the call is undoubtedly another attempt to protect McGregor by Dana White I’m over it. And you should be too.
Chad Mendes vs. Conor McGregor.
Get. F**king. Hype.