Number one UFC featherweight contender Chad Mendes watched Jose Aldo grind out a decision win over Mark Hominick live at the Rogers Centre in Toronto and walked away from the event with the confidence that he can beat the previously thought invincible UFC featherweight champion.
Mendes told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto yesterday that he isn’t buying the excuse that the Aldo was sick going into the bout or that the strain of cutting weight after adding muscle the past several months left him in a weakened state strength and conditioning-wise.
“The weight cut might have been part of it but I’m sticking with it’s a completely different kind of conditioning when you’re on the ground. His wrestling and grappling conditioning is not the same as his standup conditioning,” Mendes explained. “Being explosive on the feet is different than grappling, with the squeezing and pushing and pulling. It’s different on your muscles. We haven’t seen him on the ground a lot and I think that played a part in how tired he looked.”
The morale boost the fight gave him will be a great springboard for Mendes to begin camp for his eventual clash with Aldo at a yet-to-be-determined date.
“I just remember thinking, ‘Wow. This isn’t what I thought it was going to be,’” Mendes recalled. “Honestly, it’s what I wanted to see, though. We haven’t seen anybody get on top of him or him do much grappling.That’s really the only place I wanted to see this guy and getting to see it was a huge confidence booster for me.”
UFC president Dana White announced during the post-fight press conference Saturday night that Mendes is likely next in line for a shot at the belt, but “Money” reveals that his shot has been secured for a while.
“My manager started talking to Dana [White] about this about a month ago,” Mendes said. “I was just telling somebody I can’t believe it’s already here – fighting for a UFC world title. I’ve only been fighting for less than three years. It’s awesome. I’m pumped.”