Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo believes Chad Mendes has not yet earned the right to challenge for the 145-pound strap, after already being knocked out by "Junior" at the UFC 142 pay-per-view (PPV) event back in January of 2012.
UFC matchmaker Joe Silva is apparently in agreement.
That would explain why "Money" has been scheduled to throw hands opposite Nik Lentz as part of the upcoming UFC on FOX 9 event, which is booked for the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Calif., on Dec. 14, 2013, according to a report from FOX Sports.
It's a big fight for "The Carny."
Big enough to yank him from his UFC Fight Night 31 scrap against Dennis Bermudez, who in return gets Steven Siler as a consolation prize.
After suffering back-to-back losses for the first time in his professional mixed martial arts career, Lentz (24-5-2) roared back to win three straight, including a unanimous decision victory over Hacran Dias earlier this year at the UFC on FX 8 event in Brazil.
But he's got his hands full in "Sac-Town."
Following his first-round finish at the knee of Aldo, Mendes (15-1) took his game to another level, silencing critics who called him a one-dimensional wrestler by knocking out his next four opponents, including the usually-durable Clay Guida just last month in Milwaukee (replay here).
Which one of these streaking 145-pounders gets one step closer to the title?
UFC on FOX 9 will be headlined by a lightweight championship title fight, as newly-crowned 155-pound kingpin Anthony Pettis defends against former Strikeforce straphanger Josh Thomson. In addition, Urijah Faber will throw hands opposite bantamweight badass Michael McDonald.
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