Chad Mendes and Anthony Johnson are both about to take on the toughest opponents of their respective careers, and they’ll be doing so on those opponents’ home turf.
Mendes will meet UFC featherweight champion and top pound-for-pound fighter Jose Aldo and Anthony Johnson will take on seasoned veteran Vitor Belfort this Saturday night at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. For the two Americans, the experience of traveling to Brazil to fight has so far been memorable, with neither man admitting to feeling any extra pressure now, just a few days from the fights, as a result of being in hostile territory.
“I haven’t felt any extra pressure, no,” said Mendes. “This has been an awesome experience for me. Coming to Brazil, you know, has always been something I wanted to do. So, coming here and getting to fight in front of all the fans is something that’s just been so cool. Yesterday, for the open workouts, that was definitely one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. Getting to work out on the beach, in the sun up on a stage with a bunch of fans around and planes flying over the top of us with banners and stuff – it was something that I enjoyed and that I’m gonna look back on one day when I have kids someday and gonna remember it forever. No pressure for me.”
And from Johnson:
“I feel no pressure at all. So far, I love this country. It’s beautiful, great people. It’s an experience for me, one that I’ll remember forever. So, I wanna thank Brazil period, just for allowing me to come and having the opportunity to fight a guy like Vitor Belfort and see a beautiful country. I love it.”
UFC 142: Aldo vs. Mendes goes down this Saturday night and, as always, FightLine will be back on the evening with live, ongoing coverage of the event.