Chad Mendes (above) dreams of taking Jose Aldo's 145-pound title. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Chad Mendes doesn’t expect a title shot for his next bout, but he is thinking about the 145-pound gold currently worn by Jose Aldo.
“It’s something that I’m dreaming about all the time,” Mendes said Monday during a “Savage Dog Show” interview on the Sherdog Radio Network.
Mendes made his UFC debut Feb. 5, earning a unanimous decision over Michihiro Omigawa at UFC 126. The win improved his record to 10-0. He believes he’ll likely have to win one more fight before getting a crack at the UFC featherweight title.
“I’m betting they’ll do one more fight because if not, I’m going to have to wait almost six months to fight again,” Mendes said. “I’m sure they’ll probably throw one more in there before, which is fine with me. Every fight I’m gaining something. I’m learning. I’m getting better. If they wanted to throw me in there right now, then let’s do it. If they want to wait, I’m OK with that too. I’m in a great spot, I think.”
Mendes’ success has not been surprising. His senior year at Cal Poly, he was an All-American wrestler whose only loss came in the NCAA championship.
“That was the goal in college, to get that championship, and that’s something I was hungry for,” Mendes said. “I was training every single day for it. It was something I was dreaming about then. I came so close. Now I’ve moved over to the MMA world. That belt is the new target, the new goal and basically the same thing. I’m training for it every day, thinking about it. That’s what’s on my mind. That’s what I want. To eventually get it, that’s just going to be a dream come true.”
Although Mendes made use of his wrestling against Omigawa, he also displayed a capable striking game.
“The plan was to try to knock him out,” Mendes explained. “The guy has a chin from hell. I hit that guy with everything I had and never knocked [him] out. The guy’s tough.”
Mendes said he was rocked himself for a split second but that Omigawa was more dangerous on the ground than on the feet.
“He almost caught me in that armbar. He didn’t almost catch me -- he had it freaking locked up tight,” Mendes said. “That was actually the first time in a fight where I was kind of thinking to myself, ‘Man, I’m stuck right here.’”
Mendes escaped and went on to win, though he didn’t get the big finish he had hoped for. He agreed that a highlight-reel stoppage could enhance his starpower ahead of a title bout.
“That definitely would help, I think,” Mendes said. “This honestly was the fight where I thought it was going to be. I was definitely stoked to knock this guy out and I was hitting him with everything I had, but he was just tough.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:04:22) with Mendes.
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