Team Alpha Male has always been seen as a home for smaller grapplers thanks to the presence of core members like Urijah Faber, T.J. Dillashaw, Joseph Benavidez, and Chad Mendes. However, the gym is quickly gaining a reputation for producing well-rounded fighters rather than mat technicians based on the improvements each man has shown recently thanks in part to the presence of new head coach Duane Ludwig.
Last weekend at UFC on FOX 7, the latter three all scored strike-based stoppages in their respective rumbles, and in the opinion of “Money” it wasn’t a coincidence.
“I’ve been working on my stand-up and I feel like every fight it’s getting better. I’m starting to finally find myself in the stand-up world…find what works for me, what feels comfortable,” said an excited Mendes to the FX broadcast team after his finish of Darren Elkins.
Entering the bout Elkins had won five fights in a row, yet it only took Mendes 68 seconds to do away with Elkins’ prospects for contendership and dramatically increase his own. Though there are a few fighters arguably in front of him for a crack at the winner of an August clash between champion Jose Aldo and challenger Anthony Pettis, the 14-1 Mendes feels his own three-fight run may be enough to earn him the opportunity.
“I’d like to wait, watch it, and fight the winner,” explained Mendes of his ideal situation. “I want the belt.”
Check out the complete interview with Mendes below:
PHOTO CREDIT – MMAWEEKLY