UFC featherweight Chad Mendes is hungry to work his way back up to a title-shot after suffering a knockout in his January bout with champion Jose Aldo. The loss was the first of the 27-year old’s career and made worse by the fact it involved an opening round finish.
Mendes knows one of the keys to getting a crack at any divisional belt is beating high-profile opponents rather than running through lesser-known competitors who are still supremely skilled. As such, with a fight against Hacran Dias on the horizon, Mendes is concerned about the credit he’ll get by beating the 21-1-1 Brazilian based on the limited amount of exposure Dias has received.
“I confess that I was taken back. I fought against Cody McKenzie and (UFC President) Dana White was saying that he would give me a better fight. Not that I’m taking away the merit of Hacran, but he has just one UFC fight. The guy is still unknown and it was not exactly what I had in mind to come back to fight for the title,” admitted Mendes in an interview with TATAME, making sure to add that his disappointment hasn’t prevented him from training his tail off for the December 14 tilt.
“No way am I (overlooking) Dias. I have much respect for him and am taking this fight very seriously,” said Mendes. “I know he’s a tough guy and fighting a guy from Nova Uniao is (great motivation).”
Dias-Mendes is scheduled to take place on the main card at UFC on FX 6. Dias has won nine fights in a row including a decision of Yuri Alcantara last June in his Octagon debut. Comparably, Mendes holds an overall record of 12-1 with past victories over the likes of Michihiro Omigawa, Rani Yahya, Erik Koch, and Cub Swanson.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC/GLOBO