UFC featherweight number one contender Chad Mendes is here to fight.
After running through Michihiro Omigawa in his Octagon debut back in February, the Team Alpha Male product was being courted for a potential 145-pound title fight later this year.
Unfortunately Jose Aldo wasn't ready to commit.
That's because the reigning featherweight champion was taken to the limit by Mark Hominick at UFC 129 back on April 29 in a five round title affair that saw the Brazilian fall flat from a myriad of physical ailments. "Junior" doesn't want to rush his return and face a similar outcome in his next title defense.
"It's frustrating to get in here and train 2-3 times a day hard, every day, and not have a light at the end of the tunnel, a fight to look forward to. That's what motivates me. Getting that opponent, knowing who it is, watching tape on him, that's what motivates me to get in and bust my butt every day. It's frustrating not knowing, so like I said, I just want to compete. It's something I wanted and it's what I was pushing for, but overall if he's injured, take as much time as you need. I'd rather fight the best Jose Aldo there is and have no excuses. I want to get in there and compete. I didn't want to wait 8-9 months if he wasn't going to fight. So I decided to go with Rani Yahya, a for-sure fight. I had the contract in front of me, so I took it ... I feel like I've proven myself and if I beat Yahya, that's just another step to the title. So like I said, no one's told me, but let's keep our fingers crossed."
Mendes had to make a choice: fight or wait. The "Alpha Male" went with the former, risking his status as top contender in the name of staying active.
Naturally, the veteran submission specialist decided it best to return to the featherweight division to try his luck in his UFC debut. It wouldn't be easy, as he was originally put up against Chan Sung Jung before an injury forced some re-shuffling.
Enter Mike Brown.
After three impressive rounds from the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, exit Mike Brown. That put his name on the tongues of UFC fans everywhere. A win over the undefeated Mendes would shoot him straight up the 145-pound ladder.
Can he play spoiler in "The City of Brotherly Love?" Or will Mendes once again be "Money" on fight night?