Conor McGregor beats American Chad Mendes to win UFC title

Conor McGregor (left) in action against Chad Mendes
Conor McGregor recovered from getting cut in the first round to win

Irish mixed martial arts fighter Conor McGregor claimed the Ultimate Fighting Championship interim featherweight title by beating Chad Mendes.

McGregor, 26, won in Las Vegas to become the first UFC champion from the Republic of Ireland.

He escaped a hold before a series of strikes gave him victory with three seconds left of the second round.

"To come in here and hear all this applause, it's just amazing. I truly appreciate it," said McGregor.

Conor McGregor (right) in action against Chad Mendes
McGregor (right) is nicknamed 'The Notorious'

Mendes, 30, has a wrestling background and was a late replacement for Brazilian world champion Jose Aldo, who pulled out of the contest two weeks ago because of injury.

"I've been hearing all the while that I've been protected from this kind of opponent, that I've been gifted a title shot," added McGregor.

UFC in focus
Mixed martial arts (MMA) in the UFC is comprised of many combat sports, including kickboxing, karate, jujitsu, wrestling
You can defeat your opponent by either a judges' decision, referee's technical knockout, knockout, submission or forfeit

"So when my title shot went running and they gave me the challenge I was supposed to be protected from, I decided that I'm just going to prove to people that I'm a true fighter.

"It doesn't matter who it is, I'll show up and I'll put a finish on any fighter."

Conor McGregor
McGregor was backed by a large contingent of Irish fans in Las Vegas