Before Gray Maynard flew to Brazil to aid UFC featherweight champion José Aldo in his preparation for impending challenger Chad Mendes, he felt that the undefeated Team Alpha Male product was in over his head. After training with Aldo, he knew it.
Maynard said in several interviews that, by his estimation, Mendes isn’t quite far enough along in his progression as a fighter yet to hang with Aldo, who holds a spot on most top five pound-for-pound rankings. In Brazil, on enemy territory and rapidly approaching his battle against Aldo, Mendes is unsurprisingly of a different opinion. Speaking with MMAFighting’s Ben Fowlkes this week, Mendes took issue with Maynard’s main event assessment.
“Honestly, I don’t know why Gray’s even talking about me,” Mendes said. “Gray’s never trained with me. He has no idea what I feel like in there. Obviously, he’s training with Jose, so if he gets asked that question I guess that’s what he thinks he’s got to say, but honestly, Gray’s style of wrestling is completely different from mine. I’m more of an explosive, blast you off your feet kind of wrestler. He’s more like a bully that just gets you up against the cage and works takedowns and slams from there.”
Mendes’ trainer/training partner Urijah Faber also brushed off the UFC lightweight fighter’s prediction that Mendes will be defeated by a superior fighter on Saturday night.
“Since when are the two best guys in the weight class not ready to fight each other? That’s an absurd thing to say,” Faber said. “But whatever. Who cares what [Maynard] thinks? Chad’s going to go in there and fight and win.”
Mendes meets Aldo at UFC 142 this Saturday at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. FightLine will be back on the night with live, ongoing coverage of the event.