Chad Mendes (pictured) claims a lot has changed since he was knocked out in highlight reel fashion by reigning UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo in January 2012. One thing Mendes says has remained the same is Aldo’s game.
Mendes was merely in his third UFC fight when the promotion offered him a crack at Aldo’s crown. No youngster turns down a title bout, so “Money” jumped at the chance to compete for the belt even if he had to enter unknown, hostile territory to do it.
“The first time we fought, it was over two years ago,” Mendes told AXS TV’s “Inside MMA.” “I feel I’ve matured so much as a fighter and as a person [since UFC 142]. I had two fights in the UFC before that, flew across to Brazil, fought him in his hometown, I’d never fought out of the country before. There was just a lot to take in.
“I feel that I’ve really matured as a fighter a lot since then and this will be my fourth time to Brazil now, so I understand how it all goes down and how everything works now.”
While Mendes has rattled off five straight wins since their initial encounter, four of those victims the wrestler finished via some form of knockout, he says Aldo hasn’t evolved at the pace that he has. In fact, “Scarface” has remained stagnant.
“I’ve watched Jose – his last five, six fights, I’ve watched a lot of his fights – I just don’t see any major improvements,” Mendes said. “I feel like he’s the type of guy who’s really good at what he does, but he stays in his comfort zone. He’s doing what he’s really good at, staying in there, not really pushing it trying to finish the fight anymore, and I really believe it takes a guy like me to get in there and get in his face, test his heart and his will and push him into those later rounds and really take him into deeper waters.”
Because of various injuries, Aldo has just defended his title three times since posterizing Mendes. Prior to joining the UFC, Aldo had finished 14 of his 19 opponents before the final horn.
He’s only done so four times in six outing after entering the big leagues in April 2011.
UFC 179 goes down October 25 inside Maracanazinho Gymnasium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.