After dropping two straight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight division, Nik Lentz made the drop down to featherweight in an attempt to right his ship.
A move that turned out to be the best of his mixed martial arts (MMA) career, as "The Carny" has reeled of three straight victories at 145 pounds.
His impressive run earned him a fight against former No. 1 division contender Chad Mendes, which is set to go down on Dec. 14, 2013 at UFC on FOX 9 in Sacramento, California.
And a very confident Lentz heeded a warning to Mendes -- and the rest of the division -- during Thursday's UFC on FOX 9 pre-fight press conference, declaring that he is "the man" at 145 pounds and no one will be able to stop him.
Furthermore, Nik is anxious to show "Money" that he will be the hardest fight he's ever been involved in.
"Since I've moved down to 145 pounds, I'm a completely different person. People don't know it yet, but, I'm going to be the hardest guy that Chad's ever fought. That's guaranteed, that includes Jose Aldo. When it comes to this fight, I'm super excited about it. They called me, I already had a fight scheduled, they said, ‘Hey, there's maybe an opportunity to get you to fight Chad Mendes, do you want it?' I told them, ‘Yeah, sign it up, whatever I got to do. Sign it up.' I've been waiting for an opportunity like this to get on the main card and show everyone that I'm a brand new person since changing to American Top Team (ATT) and 145 pounds. I'm telling you guys, I'm the man at 145 pounds. Nobody is going to stop me in here."
Aside from his highest profile fight to date, it will also be the first time Lentz will be on a UFC main card, having been stuck in the prelims his entire Octagon career. That's 12 fights without ever enjoying primetime exposure.
That will all change as "Carny" will be featured on FOX in one of the biggest cards of the year, which also features a 155-pound title fight between current champ Anthony Pettis taking on top challenger Josh Thomson.
And he plans to make the most of it by proving to the world that he is the best 145-pound fighter on the planet by giving "Money" his toughest challenge to date, including the title fight he had against division king Jose Aldo back at UFC 142 in Brazil.
That's a pretty bold statement, considering "Scarface" knocked Mendes out in the very first round.
How about it Manaics, will this be Lentz's coming out party? Or will Chad keep his momentum going by picking up his fifth straight win?