Team Alpha Male’s Chad Mendes (14-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) has but one defeat in his professional career, and he badly wants to avenge that loss. Will he have time before the man who beat him, Jose Aldo (22-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC), makes his way up to the lightweight division?
“It would be a little disappointing just because I’ve always wanted to be the one to beat Aldo,” Mendes told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) “But if he goes up – and I know he cuts a ton of weight – the guy is huge for 145 pounds, and that’s always going to be draining on the body. You can only do that for so long, and the older you get, the harder it’s going to be.”
Aldo, of course, was at one point the youngest champion in UFC history before Jon Jones supplanted him in that role. But the 5-foot-7 Brazilian turns 27 years old later this year, and he’s long discussed the possibility of moving up to 155 pounds to meet a new crop of challengers, not to mention reduce the amount of weight he has to cut to compete.
First up, though, is an August bout with former WEC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis in the headlining contest of UFC 163 in Brazil. Should he win, Aldo would have a number of options available to him.
Mendes, who downed Darren Elkins in impressive fashion at this past weekend’s UFC on FOX 7 event, would seem to sit at the top of the division’s current contenders. However, a July bout between Ricardo Lamas and Chan Sung Jung will also find themselves in an intriguing position in the division.
Of course, the Aldo vs. Pettis fight will also have a huge influence on the title picture. A Pettis win could signal an instant rematch. So, too, could a controversial decision or a dreaded draw.
Mendes realizes there are many uncertainties in the featherweight division, and so he’s going to be patient as he waits his chance to avenge his UFC 142 loss to Aldo. Still, he’s like to have a crack at the belt before the year is out.
“I would really like to fight for the title this year,” Mendes said after beating Elkins. “Who knows what the hell is going to happen? Right now, I’m going to take a little time off. That was three camps back-to-back-to-back for me. I just want to rest for a couple of weeks, but hopefully this year I’ll be fighting for a title.”
And if all goes well, Mendes hopes he can take it directly from Aldo.
“I would definitely understand if he’s needing to move up, but I want to be the one to take that title from him,” Mendes said.
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