Undefeated 145er Chad Mendes is a former standout wrestling who looks to be the next contender to Jose Aldo‘s UFC featherweight title. And, if that is the case, Mendes believes his wrestling base will help lead him past “Scarface.”
Aldo, seen as a dynamic striker with a tremendous amount of skill on the ground, hasn’t had to spend a lot of time defending from the bottom and could struggle with the pressure of a grappler with the 26-year old competitor’s power or control from the top.
“He’s going to be uncomfortable being on his back. That’s my strength, and that’s where I want to put him,” said Mendes in a recent interview with MMAjunkie. “I think one of the key things that slows him down is his grappling and wrestling.”
Mendes has won his first two UFC fights and is 11-0 in his career. After seeing Aldo (20-1) defeat Kenny Florian this past weekend at UFC 136 and Mark Hominick earlier this year, the Team Alpha Male fighter believes Florian had the correct plan, but just couldn’t finish the deal to secure the win.
“Kenny definitely could have won that fight. I just think it was probably the weight cut. You could tell he slowed down, and it looked like he got a little weak throughout the fight,” Mendes said. “(It was) just another fight to build my confidence (for fighting Aldo). That and the Hominick fight. Just seeing that Aldo can be taken down.”
Mendes expressed his desire to fight Aldo in February on the Super Bowl Weekend card that could also include UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva meeting Chael Sonnen in a rematch. He also would like the chance to avenge teammate Urijah Faber‘s loss to Aldo.
“I would love to get on the card Super Bowl Weekend in Las Vegas. It would be awesome to have the belts come from Brazil but stay in America,” Mendes said. “Just kind of get that payback for Faber and bring that belt back to Sacramento.”
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC
MMATraining Take: Mendes is a much better wrestler than Florian, and has the natural body of a featherweight, so he shouldn’t tire over the course of five rounds. However, Aldo has more finishing power, and that is something Mendes would have to watch for. If Mendes could start fast and keep the pace strong, it is possible he could secure a decision over Aldo much like Frankie Edgar did to B.J. Penn in their first meeting.