While many fans and pundits see Ricardo Lamas and Cub Swanson (for good reason) as the next men who will challenge UFC featherweight champ Jose Aldo, Chad Mendes has done his best to remain in the title shot conversation since he lost to Aldo last January. After all, not only has Mendes won three straight fights since he was defeated by Aldo at UFC 142, but he’s finished all three in memorable fashion. You all know how the folks and UFC brass like to see those stoppages.
This Saturday, however, Mendes will take on the perennial contender Clay Guida at UFC 164. While Guida may not have the stopping power of men like Mendes, and has been criticized for apparently not looking to finish fights, he certainly can give an elite fighter a long night (ask Anthony Pettis). In a recent interview with UFC.com, here’s some of what Mendes has to say about “The Carpenter.”
“Clay wins by frustrating people. He has incredible cardio and never stops moving around the entire fight, and that can be tough for guys that aren’t fast, that don’t have great footwork. With a guy like Clay, you can’t just go in there expecting to throw one big punch and knock him out; he can take those big punches or big kicks and recover quick.
“I’m definitely expecting a war with this guy, but you kind of don’t know which Clay is going to show up. I feel like the Clay that has been around recently is more of a point fighter – not really looking to finish, more just winning the fight. I remember the “Old Clay” that was in your face, throwing blows, never stops moving, and is all over the place – that’s the Guida that everybody loved, and I’m hoping that’s the Guida that shows up because that would be an awesome fight.”
It’s a huge fight for both men, as if Mendes wins, and does so in impressive fashion, he could be within reach of another crack at the title. If Guida wins, then it will be a pretty big statement about what he can do at 145.