Former UFC featherweight title contender Chad Mendes has kept himself on the short list of challengers with three consecutive knockouts.

For a fighter who won his first 11 bouts, Mendes didn’t believe he had that kind of power before.

“Money” returns to action this Saturday against Clay Guida at UFC 164.

“I feel like I am finding myself as a fighter,” Mendes said. “I am getting comfortable with my stand-up. After that first knockout of (Cody) McKenzie, I realized I could put people down.

“That made my confidence go up….along with having Duane Ludwig in our game drilling tons and tons of stand-up.”

Mendes (14-1) has finished Darren Elkins, Yaotzin Meza and McKenzie in the first round since a loss to Jose Aldo in 2012.

Over the year, Mendes has had issues with keeping his scheduled opponent in place, as injuries have forced the UFC’s hand several times. Regardless, the Team Alpha Male fighter knows each bout provides more experience.

“It’s frustrating,” he said. “That that’s part of the sport. If I put on a great performance, this should put me right back in line for the title.

“I am expecting to go out there and kill Clay and be right back in there.”