Undefeated Team Alpha Male product Chad Mendes was the frontrunner to challenge for Jose Aldo’s featherweight title until longtime UFC staple Kenny Florian dropped from lightweight and took out Diego Nunes in his debut.
Florian’s victory and name recognition were enough to see him granted a title shot — which he will get this October at UFC 136 — and push Mendes to the back burner. Speaking with MMADieHards.com recently, the 26-year-old Mendes discussed his title shot snub.
“It’s something that I kinda thought about and was definitely said by Dana White also, but when I first heard it I was pretty upset, because I honestly believe that I’m the next in line for the title shot,” said Mendes of Florian being awarded the title fight first. “And him coming down and winning one fight at featherweights, in my eyes, doesn’t show or prove that you deserve a title shot.”
Mendes — who is on deck to face Rani Yahya at UFC 133 — is staying positive though, looking on the bright side that Florian will attract more eyes to the talent-rich featherweight division just in time for hat he believes is his own destined fight for the title.
“He’s the one that’s gonna bring the big crowd and kinda bring the light to the forty-fives,” he said. “So, if he’s able to get the title shot next — I’m gonna sit back, I’m gonna win this fight. I’m one hundred percent focused on this fight. I’m gonna let him do his thing, bring the light to the forty-fives. I think Aldo’s gonna destroy him anyway. So, I’m gonna beat Yahya, get in there and take that title.”
To hold his spot at 145lbs., Mendes must get past submission wizard Rani Yahya on the Spike TV-aired preliminary card portion of UFC 133, which goes down on August 6 from the Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.