Chad Mendes has long-been a follower of former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar.
This December, Mendes will get to share the Octagon with Edgar, as the two headline The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale. The event takes place in Las Vegas, a night before Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor battle to unify the featherweight titles.
For “Money,” this was a fight long on his radar, as he told “UFC Tonight” recently.
“This is a fight a lot of people wanted to see for a long time,” Mendes said. “I’ve been watching Frankie for a long time. When I worked my way up the rankings and he dropped down to 145, I figured we would face each other. The time is now and I’m excited. He’s a scrapper. We have similar styles. He has great cardio, pushes the pace and mixes his boxing with wrestling.
“The winner will be right in line for the title. It’s a huge fight for me. ”
Mendes (17-3) believes he has one key advantage in the fight: his power. He finished Cody McKenzie, Yaotzin Meza, Darren Elkins, Clay Guida and Ricardo Lamas during a recent run that netted the Team Alpha Male fight two shots at UFC gold.
“I can put anyone to sleep with one punch,” he said. “Since dropping down to 145, I don’t think (Edgar’s) power is there like it was at 155. If I fight a smart fight, I win this fight.
“I’m more dangerous than he is if I’ve had a full camp. I’m a very dangerous fighter.”
After an injury to Aldo, UFC officials asked – and Mendes answered – for the fighter to step in on short notice and face McGregor for the interim title. He suffered a second round TKO loss.
The decision was one that has left Mendes hungry for a rematch with “Notorious.”
“That was 110-percent the factor. None of those body kicks hurt at all,” Mendes said. “Going into the fight, I was in decent shape and talking it up, but I wasn’t in five-round shape. With a full camp, I destroy that guy. He better not try to ditch out to 155. He owes me a rematch with a full camp. We’ll see if he’s man enough to do that.”
As for that upcoming Aldo-McGregor contest, having spent almost eight rounds inside the cage with both fighters, Mendes has a pretty good idea on what is going to happen.
“I think Aldo wins the fight. He’s more athletic, he’s faster and he hits harder. He has more weapons,” Mendes said. “Conor has splashy spinning kicks, but it’s nowhere near what Aldo has. He’s going to find out real soon.”