Chad Mendes is still trying to get over his loss to Conor McGregor -- which occurred at UFC 189 on July 11, 2015 -- during their interim Featherweight title fight in Las Vegas, Nevada (video).
According to "Money," it hurts to watch the fight, especially since he was dominating the bout with his wrestling before fatigue set in, giving "Notorious" the opportunity to pounce and knockout the Team Alpha Male-trained fighter in the waning seconds of round two.
But, it's through no fault of Mendes, who took the fight on little more than one week notice after Jose Aldo's injury prevented him from taking on his Irish rival. With a full training camp, Mendes strongly believes the outcome would be different.
"It hurts to watch. I'm not making excuses. I'm not sitting here saying that's the reason why I lost. But, I feel that if I am completely prepared for that fight, I win that fight. Every single time. His only way of beating me was tagging me on the feet. And you know, he does a really good job of being in your face. He has that, like, Diaz style of punching. But, anyone who can move around and stay light on their feet and take this dude down wins that fight every single time. I just, after scrambling around, and fighting for the amount of time that I did, I just wasn't able to get back to my feet and be light on my feet."
As much as Mendes tries to erase the difficult loss (the third of his career), he can't, admitting that the defeat is something he constantly thinks about.
"I was stuck, and that's when he was able to tee off and that's why I lost. So I truly believe that if I was able to keep that bounce in my step and move my feet, keep that footwork going, that I wouldn't have been tagged and the round would've ended. We would've gone back and round three would've been just like round two. So it sucks. I think that's the hardest part, because I know I can beat this guy, and I was so close. It's something I still think about. Sometimes [I] lay in bed still thinking about it. It's definitely going to take some time to get over it, but you know, that's just part of the game."
On the bright side, Mendes earned himself a cool half-million dollars for being a team player.
He also earned the respect of McGregor, who gave props to the wrestling powerhouse for stepping in on short notice and actually showing up to fight ... unlike his Brazilian foe.