Since losing to Jose Aldo in January of 2012, Chad Mendes has been in terrific form in the UFC’s featherweight division, racking up four stoppage victories in a row, but it seems that the champion doesn’t deem that as being enough to warrant a rematch just yet
“Chad Mendes is still starting, haven’t fought anyone ranked yet, only fought guys that are not that good,” Aldo tells MMAfighting.com. “He’s coming off good wins, but he hasn’t beaten good guys. So I believe the next two should be Ricardo Lamas and Cub Swanson.”
Aldo has a point about the caliber of the opposition Mendes has been facing – Cody McKenzie and Yaotzin Meza are certainly not top flight 145lb’ers.
Becoming the first man to stop Clay Guida with strikes was big for Mendes though, and while he doesn’t get the hype as some other fighters, his win over Darren Elkins shouldn’t be overlooked as Elkins was coming off a five fight winning streak prior to his fight with ‘Money’, and has since defeated Hatsu Hioki.
Let’s also not forget that Mendes was actually making life for Aldo difficult in the opening round of their first encounter, before Aldo suddenly produced a fight-ending strikes from out-of-the-blue with just one second of the round remaining.
Having said that I don’t disagree with him that Lamas and Swanson are deserving of a title shot first as both are on long unbeaten runs and have been on top-form lately.
Aldo has suggested that those two could have a fight to decide who gets to face him next, but Lamas defeated Swanson in the UFC just a couple of years ago and Mendes also defeated him back in the WEC, so with that in mind I think Mendes Vs Lamas would be a sensible title decider instead if that’s the route the UFC want to go down.
The UFC see Mendes as a marketable star for the future though so it could well be that they’ll still push for the rematch despite Aldo’s initial reluctance.