On today's edition of MMA Junkie Radio, Chad Mendes' manager Mike Roberts appeared to address some of the issues surrounding Mendes, who was recently pulled off of the UFC 157 card after his opponent Manny Gamburyan was injured. Indeed, it seemed as if surging Featherweight Ricardo Lamas, who was last seen relatively unscathed after destroying Erik Koch at UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Dodson, would have been quite the logical replacement. But Lamas is reportedly signed already. Roberts spoke on the subject:
"He asked for Ricardo, and we've got two-and-a-half weeks, but apparently Ricardo agreed to another fight. Any rumor that's out there saying that me or Chad turned down any fight is completely, 100 percent false.
There's not a huge line of people that want to fight Chad, especially on two weeks' notice.
The fight was offered to several good people, and they felt it wasn't in their best interest to take it. We'd fight anybody," he said. "Chad is the best, if not the second best guy in that weight division, period. Chad's not going to turn anybody down. He believes he can beat anybody."
Roberts seems quite confident in his client, and while Mendes is very good, his next opponent remains uncertain. Roberts hinted at an April return for Mendes, reportedly a very big bout. However, he lost in vicious fashion to the division champion Jose Aldo.
That highlight reel KO may mean another shot at the champ is some time off for Mendes. Still, a win over Lamas would have been quite convincing. Just who the next Featherweight title challenger will face is still up in the air, as Aldo will face off against Anthony Pettis in a huge bout this August. Roberts knows this, and stated the following:
"He sees how it's a business and why they want Aldo and Pettis to fight. He's not going to cry and whine about it. He's going to hope Anthony wins, and Chad wins his fight – maybe they'll dance together."
That may be the best case for Mendes should he win his next one or two bouts, as Aldo may find hmself facing the winner of Ricardo Lamas and his next opponent, who has been rumored to be the returning Korean Zombie. Nothing has been confirmed on that front as of yet however, and suddenly the Featherweight division is looking to be stacked up with talent as 2013 has begun. Can Chad Mendes establish himself at the forefront, or will he be lost in a sea of surging fighters?