It may not be a big money fight and it may not be a “super fight”, but Chad Mendes deserves a second chance at the UFC featherweight title. If he defeats Nik Lentz in impressive fashion, there should be nothing stopping UFC brass from booking Mendes/Jose Aldo II.
Let’s face it; the featherweight division, though promising, is not littered with a ton of challengers for Aldo’s title. There are few individuals in the division that hold the resume Mendes currently has.
In his past four fights, no opponent has been able to make it to the final bell against Mendes. He has finished them all (Clay Guida, Darren Elkins, Yaotzin Meza and Cody McKenzie) by KO or TKO. Guida made it to the third round before getting TKO’d while the other aforementioned fighters did not make it out of the first round.
Mendes is a good wrestler who is beginning to develop his striking. Unlike in his early days, Mendes can use striking to set up the takedown or just stand and bang it out on the feet. Is he good enough to stand with Aldo? No, but he may have better success taking him down now that he is comfortable on the feet.
Looking at the rest of the division, Ricardo Lamas (who is ranked second by the UFC behind Mendes) will receive the next shot at Aldo on Feb. 1. Lamas, who is undefeated in the UFC, deserves that title shot.
After Lamas, it is a wide-open race in which the winner should be determined by their fight resume. Mendes should win that race by a long shot. Nothing should stop Mendes from getting a title shot if he defeats Lentz — not even a “super fight” between Aldo and Anthony Pettis.