UFC featherweight contender Chad Mendes has had one hell of a streak going lately; scoring four straight knockouts over Cody McKenzie, Yaotzin Meza, Darren Elkins and Clay Guida, before decisioning Nik Lentz to earn another shot at champion Jose Aldo. All seemed to be on track, before the champion was injured, and the UFC 176 date was scrapped.
This paved way to the beginning of a back-and-forth between the two that edged on sensational, and Aldo responded in ways we’d never seen from the usually reserved champ. First off there was an accusation that Aldo was faking and one back that Mendes was juicing, then ‘Money’ took to Twitter to protest his cleanliness, and accuse the champion of PED use. Mendes spoke with Combate.com today, and yours truly translated the best quotes:
“I was very surprised by what he said, mainly because he was very rude. Aldo got mad because I said he was pretending he was hurt and he was chasing me, and making a move to take this fight to Brazil. And now the fight is going to be where? But I never saw the Aldo respond like that to anyone. He talked a lot, lost patience. That was a big thing for me, because I saw what really went on in his head. One thing I learned in all my career is that if your opponent lose patience, you’re already in his head. In the mental game, I’m one step ahead of Jose Aldo, no doubt.”
Aldo and Mendes first met at UFC 142, with the champion earning the first round knockout. The news that UFC 179 in Brazil would play host to the rematch puts ‘Scarface’ in his back yard for the rematch, likely to the challenger’s dislike. But ‘Money’ says he will switch a few things up this time around:
“I plan to arrive in Brazil prior to adjust to the time zone change. I get a few weeks before you can train there and be fully adapted to the climate and country until the day of the fight. With the food, I’ll try to take as much stuff as I can. What I can not take, I will buy there. But this is detail. I fought in Brazil once, I know how it is. I shouldn’t have major problems this time. Nothing will make me lose focus.”
So the event will go down, once again, in Brazil, so what’s to say that the result won’t just be another walk in the park for the champion? Well, seeing as TJ Dillashaw shocked the world by smashing Renan Barao and snatching his bantamweight belt, ‘Money’ feels like Team Alpha Male have the blueprint to beat Nova Uniao in the cage:
“It will be totally different. The stage can be repeated, the city and the opponent too, but it is misleading to think I’m the same fighter as two years ago. I improved my game, I’m stronger, faster, more complete. Knocked out four of my last five opponents, worked hard to improve my weaknesses. When we faced for the first time, Aldo was bigger than me, had a physical advantage. Today this advantage no longer exists. Otherwise, with (TJ) Dillashaw we unveiled the diagram of Team Nova União I know Baron and Aldo are different fighters, but they train together, have the same methodology in the octagon. I think we now have the blueprint. Jose Aldo is my next victim!”
Mendes was a little more reserved than in recent interviews, but has the aura of a very focused fighter. Do you think he can defy the odds, just as team mate TJ Dillashaw did, or will the champion win one in the battle of camps? One thing is for sure, Team Alpha male would surely be the number one camp, or at least right up there, with a win in Brazil at UFC 179.
Outer image courtesy of USA Today Sports