Much was made of the fact that UFC featherweight champ Jose Aldo enlisted the help of traveling warrior Gray Maynard to assist him in preparation for his upcoming title defense against Chad Mendes. With similar wrestling backgrounds, Maynard is presumed to be offering Aldo a solid mimic of his impending opponent.
As he told Tatame recently while in Brazil training with the champ, by his estimation, Maynard doesn’t think Mendes is quite ready to face a fighter of Aldo’s caliber. Speaking on yesterday’s media conference call, now about a week and a half away from his UFC 142 main event appearance, Mendes brushed off Maynard’s assessment and maintained his confidence heading into the title fight.
“First off, I don’t care who he trains with,” said Mendes. “I mean, I train with some of the best guys in the world. I’ve been wrestling since I was five years old. It’s what I’ve done my entire life. I haven’t taken a year off, ever. Wrestling? You know, I don’t care who he works with. He could work with the best wrestler in the entire world … his wrestling’s not gonna be anywhere near as good as mine, and I’m sure he understands that.”
“But, Maynard saying that he doesn’t think that I’m ready for a title shot – I don’t know where Maynard’s saying anything about anyone. He’s never trained with me, he doesn’t know how good I am,” he continued. “I think Maynard is probably just saying that because he’s training with Aldo, but other than that, I feel like I’m prepared. My standup’s gonna be where it needs to be to get in there and fight with Jose and I know my wrestling’s gonna be better.”
We’ll all find out how Mendes stacks up against Aldo next weekend, when the two featherweights meet at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to contest the title.