When Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweight champion Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes finally came face-to-face for the first ever stare down in anticipation of their upcoming rematch, tempers boiled over. Aldo pushed Mendes (video) after he felt the challenger got a little too close for comfort, forcing UFC officials to intervene in order to avoid another pre-fight brawl.
According to Mendes, who appeared on a recent edition of The MMA Hour (via MMA Fighting), the fact that Aldo lost his cool and resorted to pushing him proved that "Money" is living rent free in Aldo's head in the lead up to their rematch, which goes down on Oct. 25, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
And it had nothing to do with trying to sell a fight.
"For me, it's basically me thinking I'm in his head, man. We've never seen Aldo do this with any opponent. I think he feels threatened in his head which is right where I want to be. When you get into a stare off and the guy shoves you or pushes you, it's kind of funny to me. That's our job and that's what we're supposed to do. If you don't want to be there, don't do the damn stare down. It's just funny to me that he lost his cool."
That, or perhaps Aldo just couldn't wait to get his hands on Mendes after the two engaged in a bitter war of words prior to their face off.
Jose initially got the best of Chad when they locked horns back at UFC 142 in 2012, knocking out the Team Alpha Male member in the final seconds of the first round. Since then, "Money" has worked tirelessly to get another title shot. And now that he has it, he plans to make the most of it, as he feels he has what it takes to dethrone the longtime champion and begin a reign of his own.
Should he prove victorious, Conor McGregor would likely be the first man he defends his belt against, as UFC President Dana White recently stated that "Notorious" would challenge the champion next. As far as Mendes is concerned, he's not opposed to a fight against Conor.
And though he labels the fiery Irishman a "shit talker," he says Conor is good for the sport.
"The guy talks a lot of shit. But I think he's great for the sport. It's an eye opener for a lot of people to bring that much recognition to the featherweight division and to the sport of the UFC. But don't get me wrong, I would love to punch this dude right in the face. He's a big talker, he's got the skill set to back it up, but I don't think he's on my level yet. I'd like to see him get in there with somebody who has a little bit of rest and background. I think a guy like Dennis Bermudez, honestly, would beat him. I think a guy like Clay Guida, even Nik Lentz. I think all three of those guys will test him very well and most likely beat him."
"If I go out there and beat Aldo, I would rather fight a bigger name like Conor. Not necessarily a better name, but the guy with the bigger draw like that. Like you said, that's going to be bigger money and it's going to be a way bigger recognition fight and I think it's going to be a huge fight for the featherweight division. I will cross that road when it comes, but I think that is a great idea."
First, he has to get some payback against the current champ, and in the Brazilian's backyard, no less.