26-year old Chad Mendes has accomplished a lot in his three-year career, winning all eleven of his fights and picking up wins over veterans like Michihiro Omigawa and Rani Yahya. However, if he hopes to increase his current streak to a dozen straight he’ll have to not only beat 20-1 champion Jose Aldo but do so in the Brazilian’s proverbial backyard.

According to an announcement from the UFC, Mendes will get a crack at Aldo’s title on January 14 when the organization returns to Rio de Janeiro for UFC 142.

Mendes is 6-0 under the Zuffa banner and should be fully prepared for the task at hand given his surroundings at Team Alpha Male. An accomplished collegiate wrestler, “Money” Mendes should also pose a stiff challenge for Aldo given some of the mat-based struggles he’s exhibited in past bouts.

While Aldo may not be a takedown specialist, his talent is undeniable and has been put on display in victorious fashion against a “who’s who” of the featherweight division including Manny Gamburyan, Mike Brown, Urijah Faber, Mark Hominick, and most recently Kenny Florian. He has finished fourteen of the twenty opponents he’s beaten including twelve via TKO.


MMATraining Take: If you’re familiar with Aldo’s backstory you can’t help but root for him in this one. A victim of abject poverty, Aldo worked his way up from nothing to become one of MMA’s pound-for-pound best and hasn’t even reached his full potential yet. He’s also extremely humble and lives a modest lifestyle instead of letting his fame/fortune skew his view. Fighting in Brazil will be a legitimate dream come true for Aldo, and, all due respect to Mendes, I’ll be on Team Jose for this one.