When Jose Aldo faces Chad Mendes at UFC 142 in hopes of retaining his UFC featherweight title he will be going up against one of his division’s best grapplers as well as a particularly strong competitor. For those reasons the explosive 25-year old brought in one of the best wrestlers at 155 pounds, Gray Maynard, to help him prepare for the January 14.
While Aldo no doubt appreciated Maynard’s help it was “The Bully” who has come away impressed by his experience at Nova Uniao in Brazil. The former Xtreme Couture staple, now a gym-gypsy of sorts, spoke some about his time training with the 145-pound king.
“He knows how to defend takedowns very well,” said Maynard in a conversation with TATAME. “I trained with him and it was hard for me to take him down….I’m just here to push him and help him with the little things.”
“The way I see it, Chad Mendes is a great athlete – a very mature kid – but honestly I don’t believe he’s ready to fight Jose Aldo,” Maynard replied when asked about how he saw the UFC 142 match-up unfolding. “I think it’s too soon. He needed to fight few more times, but well… I’m not the one to decide that, it’s just my opinion on the subject. Jose Aldo is a great champion….He’s an impressive guy a while now I’ll do whatever it is I can do to help him out. It’s a pleasure training with a guy that talented.”
One topic Maynard did not address was when he might return to the ring after a hard-fought championship clash with Frankie Edgar at UFC 136 he ultimately came up short in. However, it seems likely the 10-1-1 TUF alumnus will be back in spring given the date of his loss to Edgar (October).
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC
MMATraining Take: I’m all for Maynard mixing it up with Nova Uniao as time in a new environment, around new styles and approaches, has to be helpful after so many years under one roof. He hadn’t evolved much other than in terms of boxing while training in Vegas so I expect some definite growth to occur over the interim between UFC 136 and his next scrap. I also think Aldo made a great choice by bringing in Maynard whose wrestling/style is definitely similar to Mendes minus the patented Team Alpha Male Guillotine Choke.