Team Alpha Male trained Chad Mendes has been waiting for a rematch against featherweight champion Jose Aldo since the two first fought at UFC 142 in January 2012. Aldo defeated Mendes that night in Rio de Janeiro, but after stringing together a five-fight winning streak, including four victories by way of knockout, Mendes finally earned the rematch he’s been eyeing all along.
“I’m so ready to do this. I feel like it’s been forever. I think it will be over two years since the first time we fought,” Mendes recently told The Great MMA Debate Podcast.
Aldo and Mendes II was originally scheduled to headline UFC 176 in August, but an injury forced the champion out of the fight. The event, which was planned for the Staples Center in Los Angeles, was cancelled and the rematch rescheduled for UFC 179 on Oct. 25 in Brazil. The 29-year-old Californian wasn’t happy with the change of location.
“I was supposed to fight him Aug. 2 here in the States, in California down at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. I was super pumped for that, just being able to do it in front of a kind of hometown crowd and all of my friends and family that had bought tickets and everything. It is what it is. He got injured. Now we’re fighting in Brazil again.
“For me, it sucks. I know I had a lot of friends and family that wanted to come that can’t make it now,” said Mendes. “Other than that, I’m excited to get in there and face him. Whether it’s here or in Brazil, I’m going to get in there and get the job done.”
Instead of fighting Aldo in California, Mendes now faces the champion in Aldo’s hometown, and the top contender believes it may have been a calculated move on Aldo’s part.
“I heard someone was doing interviews in the back after his last fight with Ricardo Lamas and saying that he wants to fight again in October and there was going to be another card in Brazil. It was something that was on his mind since his last fight. There’s a chance that it was a calculated move. I don’t’ know for sure, but it’s kind of strange to me,” said Mendes.
While the change of location wasn’t ideal for Mendes, he still plans to return to the States with the 145-pound belt in hand.
“But like I said, whatever. I don’t give a (expletive). Whether it’s here or on the moon, I’m going to get in there in the Octagon. As soon as that door closes, it is a fight. It is a war. I feel like I’m very prepared for this fight. I’ve obviously learned from the mistakes from the first one. I’ve watched that fight a lot and I’ve taken a lot from it,” he said. “I’m excited. I think I’m going to get in there and beat Jose Aldo. I feel like I have the athletic ability and the skill level to do it. I’m excited.”