As UFC 129 fast approaches, most eyes will be on the two main event title fights that head the card. One of which will be the first appearance of featherweight champion Jose Aldo defending his belt against Mark Hominick.
One person, who will be sitting cageside with his eyes locked on that fight, will be current top 145-pound contender Chad Mendes.
The undefeated Team Alpha Male fighter blew through former Sengoku and Dream fighter Michihiro Omigawa in his last bout, and now has every intention of challenging the winner of Aldo and Hominick.
“I can tell you Chad will be sitting ringside in Toronto watching Aldo and Hominick fight, and he has all the hopes in the world that the winner of that will be his next fight. I believe he deserves it, I believe he’s ready for it, and I think it’s his time,” Mendes’ manager, Mike Roberts from MMA Inc., told MMAWeekly Radio recently.
“He’ll be sitting front and center hoping to get that shot.”
The UFC hasn’t officially declared Mendes the top contender, but all the puzzle pieces fit for the one-time college wrestling standout to challenge the winner of the upcoming featherweight title fight.
Mendes has rolled through all of the top competition in the division that he’s faced, en route to a 10-0 record. His manager even believes if the timing had worked out, he would be the one facing Aldo in just a couple of weeks.
“I believe he should have got the shot before Hominick, but just timing of Chad’s last fight and this one, I fully understand why they had to book Hominick for the fight,” said Roberts. “That being said, in our opinion, that automatically qualifies Chad as the number one contender.”
Mendes is up for facing either Aldo or Hominick next, and has even said in the past that he’d be open to facing Aldo in his native Brazil at the UFC Rio event in August if that’s what the promotion wanted.
Even with names like Kenny Florian, Tyson Griffin, and others dropping down to the featherweight division, Mendes and his team believe he’s the deserving person for a shot at the belt, and the others should have to work their way up, the same way Mendes did.
“I know some other fighters they’re saying maybe they should get it, but what they’ve done in other weight divisions doesn’t matter,” Roberts commented.
“What matters is what you’ve accomplished in that weight division, and Chad’s undefeated, he’s never lost a round, and we believe he’s ready.”
Mendes has been out of action since his win in February and will be sitting front row at UFC 129 with a very special interest in the co-main event of the evening.