Chad Mendes has been on quite the roll since he was taken out by Jose Aldo in 2012, but despite the fact “Money” has stopped four of his last five opponents, many folks believe the featherweight champ will get it done at UFC 179. After all, we are talking about a man who has won 17 straight fights and has been ruling ZUFFA’s 145 division since 2009.
Of course, there are a lot of fans who think Mendes is going to bring the featherweight belt back to the U.S. next week, including the Team Alpha Male fighter, obviously. While speaking on the latest edition of “UFC Tonight”, Mendes offered this explanation, as to why things are going to be different this time around (quotes via FOX Sports 1 press release):
“It’s been about two and a half years since that first fight. That was the first fight that I flew across the country and fought away from home. I didn’t know the system, I didn’t have anything down. I’ve fought four times in the UFC now. We have a head coach now. The first time we didn’t. I’ve closed some holes and tightened some things. He says he’s going to knock me out, but he’s going to be in for a rude awakening on Saturday.”
“I’m the only person to fight him twice. A lot of the guys fighting him experience a big intimidation factor. But I’ve gotten in there, felt his power and gotten my hands on him and I truly believe I can beat this guy. There’s little things we’ve changed up from the first time. I have the striking now and I have the ability to knock him out.”
There’s no question that the striking skills of Mendes, and many of his Alpha Male teammates, improved substantially through the guidance of Duane Ludwig. The question remains, however, whether it will be enough. One would think that the Aldo of today is better than the one Mendes faced over two years ago.
Aldo has argued that Mendes’ recent run of stoppage wins isn’t that impressive, since they came against opponents who aren’t known for being top tier strikers. The latter has put away Yaotzin Meza, Cody McKenzie, Darren Elkins and Clay Guida over the last the two years. While that may be true, it’s kind of hard to argue that Mendes hasn’t looked really impressive in his last few outings.
Mendes was also asked whether he plans to shoot in on Aldo, and the accomplished wrestler responded “Of course, wrestling is always something I have. When it comes to a talent like Aldo, mixing it up is likely a must.
UFC 179 will go down in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday night and will be available throughout North America on pay-per-view.