|Chad Mendes has had a tougher time|
finding a fight than winning fights.
When people think of the 145 lb division, everyone knows Aldo reigns supreme. He is undefeated in his WEC/UFC career and has won many of those fights in dominant fashion. His leg kicks are so violent that his opponents fully expect to be in a wheelchair after the fight, win or lose. Despite Aldo being the champion and one of the scariest guys in mixed marital arts, people are still willing to fight him. Not only does everyone who weighs in at 145 pounds want a piece of him, but some of the smaller guys are 155 are willing to drop weight classes to face this man. When you have the belt it does not matter how scary you are, people will fight you.
Chad Mendes on the other hand, is known for using his wrestling to dominate an opponent and take a decision victory. Prior to his fight with Jose Aldo, his WEC/UFC record was a solid 6-0 with 5 decisions and 1 submission. Since losing his title fight to Aldo, he has rallied off 2 first round KO victories. This does not necessarily mean that Mendes is about to go on a knockout spree, but he is definitely proving that he is one of the most elite fighters in the sport. Apparently Mendes is too good for his own good. He cannot even find a top 10 fighter willing to fight him despite him being ranked as one of the top 3 guys in the division. People know that it is too risky of a fight to take this guy on so he is in a peculiar spot.
So why do I say nobody wants to fight him? Let us take a look:
- Jose Aldo turned down the fight originally scheduled from "injuries sustained in the Hominick title fight"
- Mendes won a fight while waiting for Aldo to get healthy so Aldo finally had to take the fight. However he insisted it be in Brazil, where he was able to KO Mendes with a knee.
- Mendes beats Cody McKenzie with a KO due to a body punch in about 30 seconds
- Mendes scheduled to fight Hacran Dias; Dias pulls out days before the fight citing a shoulder injury
- UFC newcomer Yaotzin Meza takes the fight on less than a week's notice only to be knocked out in the first round.
- Mendes scheduled to fight Manny Gamburyan at UFC 157; Manny pulled out citing a thumb injury
- No replacement could be found for Mendes
- Mendes scheduled to face Clay Guida on UFC on Fox 7; Guida pulls out citing an undisclosed injury
It was just announced that Darren Elkins will step in for Guida and face Mendes on April 20th, for now. Elkins has won 5 in a row and looked impressive in his win at UFC 158 despite the controversial stoppage. The only reason he is willing to take this fight is because he has nothing to lose and like Mendes, cannot find a top 10 opponent. He has beat nobody substantial in his 5 fight win streak and is taking a huge step up in competition in Chad Mendes. Mendes at this point just want a fight. Elkins knows this is a huge opportunity, and if he losses nobody will care. He is expected to lose so even if he puts up a fight and still losses, people will notice his ability just to hang with top competition. A win over Elkins does almost nothing for Mendes in his climb back into a rematch with Aldo. Mendes is one of those guys that just wants to fight often. He would fight 5 times a year if his opponents would actually show up without "injuries." People just do not want to fight this guy because he is dangerous and he is a winner. From his wrestling career to his mixed martial arts career, this is a guy that is a top level athlete who flat out wins.
As for Chad's standing in the featherweight division, nobody knows. The featherweight at lightweight division are in a really weird scenario. Everyone expects the winner of Jung vs Lamas to get the next title shot following the August match between Pettis and Aldo. However, Aldo and/or Pettis could be heading up to 155 after the fight. Throw in the fact that Henderson has his hands full with Melendez and you have a wild array of possibilities for these two weight classes. The champion at featherweight, whether it be Aldo or Pettis, could immediately vacate his title to fight for the lightweight belt. A featherweight tournament with the likes of Mendes, Edgar, Swanson, Porier, Koch, Lamas, Jung, and others could be in the works if this happens. Mendes for now is a top 3 featherweight and needs a top guy in the division to step up and face him. Enough being scared of Mendes. If Swanson, Siver, Edgar, or others are looking to prove they are top guys in the division, they need to step up and face Mendes.