There are many rightly touting Chad Mendes as the man who should be next up for featherweight champion Jose Aldo after he became the first man ever to stop Clay Guida via strikes at UFC 164. However, many are forgetting the remarkable roll that Ricardo Lamas has been on in the 145-pound division.
Lamas has been able to match Mendes in reeling off four consecutive wins, and most have come in impressive fashion. His most recent victory was a second-round stoppage of Erik Koch but since then, Lamas has faded from the spotlight through no fault of his own.
A scheduled fight at UFC 162 against Chan Sung Jung failed to materialize after the “Korean Zombie” was pulled out of their fight to take on Aldo at UFC 163. The switch was made after challenger Anthony Pettis suffered an injury. Lamas eventually was removed from UFC 162 after no opponent could be found.
Lamas felt as though he deserved that title shot instead of Jung, and obviously doesn’t want to be overlooked again. Mendes, for his part, promises an Aldo rematch would be much different from their first meeting because of his improved striking. The Team Alpha Male member was stopped in the first round against Aldo at UFC 142 in Brazil.
How about this for a solution? With Aldo sidelined for the rest of the year by a broken foot suffered in his successful title defense against Jung, now would seem like a perfect time for Mendes and Lamas to meet in the Octagon to finally determine who should be the no. 1 contender for Aldo’s belt.
With the two top featherweights combining for eight consecutive victories between them with seven stoppages, it is a very difficult task to pin down who’s truly more deserving. The one thing that may play in Lamas’ favor is that he hasn’t had his opportunity while Mendes has had his title shot.
It may seem unfair for Lamas to have to face another major obstacle in Mendes before getting his much-coveted title fight against Aldo, but with both fighters on such a tremendous run, it would seem to be the best option. Plus, you can bank on Lamas-Mendes being a tremendous, all-action contest.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports