Chad ‘Money’ Mendes has been floating around the top end of the Featherweight division of the UFC for a while now. Currently riding a four fight KO streak, Mendes’ only loss as a pro came to Jose Aldo at UFC 142 in his first ever title shot.
‘Money’ knocked Clay Guida out at UFC 164 and proved once again that he is truly championship material, also showing his vast improvement in the striking department. Check out what Mendes had to say to Sherdog.com about the win:
“I knew that he’d be cutting a lot of weight, so I wanted to do as much grappling and scrambling as possible without overextending myself and getting into bad positions. That all kind of went as planned and then the third round, I feel like he kind of slowed down a little bit and I just found that one split second where he left an opening and just capitalized on it, touched him on the chin and he fell. I knew he was hurt, but I’d seen Clay in the past get hit before and guys get burnt out trying to finish him and it doesn’t happen. I just knew that I had to be patient. I kept him pinned against the cage basically, and as he got up, just let it go.”
It was a very impressive win against a durable contender in Guida, and one that will likely see Mendes being talked about for a title shot in a division crammed with talent.
“I think I’ve always had the power and the athleticism to be able to throw fast punches and hard punches. I just was never confident and comfortable enough with the techniques to get in there and let my hands go in the cage. All my teammates told me from day one, ‘You hit hard. You hit like a truck. You need to just let your hands go,’ but it was something that was just never comfortable for me in a fight. … I kind of had the mentality coming into that [Cody] McKenzie fight that I’m just going to start taking more chances and just letting it go. I remember throwing that punch that landed on his liver, and damn, did it feel good. I just realized I can start putting people down if I hit them. I don’t know why I was so afraid before and so just not very confident at all really. I think since then it’s just kind of that switch flipped. It feels good to get in there and hit people.”
Wrestling training does usually yield powerful strikers, mainly due to the high intensity workouts. The cardio they possess allows them to be able to explode for longer without gassing. Team Alpha Male seems to be unstoppable at present, and Mendes credits Urijah Faber for giving him the belief that he will be a superstar:
“I think the last few fights has really just been me finding myself. [Urijah] Faber told me this from the beginning: ‘You will find yourself. You’re going to get to that point where it’s all just going to start clicking.’ He was like, ‘You’re going to be a superstar,’ and I believed him. I think that time is now.”
Mendes has improved vastly since his loss to Aldo, but would it be enough to give the champion any more of a challenge than last time?
Cover photo courtesy of USAToday.com