Mendes Excited To Take Next Step Toward Title

Chad Mendes

Chad Mendes can’t believe he is about to make his UFC debut.

The UFC featherweight, who is a proud member of Team Alpha Male, perhaps should not be too surprised that he is about to fight in the top promotion in all of mixed martial arts. After all, Mendes has impressively run through all the fighters put before him, including taking home wins during his WEC career against the likes of Javier Vazquez, Cub Swanson, and Erik Koch.

But the 9-0 fast-rising featherweight just thinks back to the days he spent watching the sport with his dad and is “super-pumped” that his time has now come to perform on the largest stage.

“I’m super excited,” Mendes stated on the latest episode of the HeavyMMA Podcast. “This is something that I never dreamed I would be doing this soon in my career. Once I started fighting, I wanted to eventually end up here, but I can’t believe everything is happening so fast. It’s a dream come true … I just remember watching the UFC with my dad when I was a little kid. Loved it back then and I love it now, and it’s just incredible to finally be getting in there and doing it.”

In his first fight with the promotion, Mendes is looking to pick up where he left off following his final WEC victory, which came against the aforementioned Vazquez at WEC 52 last November. Though perhaps still considered only a top prospect, Mendes believes the progress he has had makes him more than that.

The man nicknamed “Money” says he is ready to cash in his success for a shot at the UFC featherweight title.

“Honestly, I think I’m ready for a title shot. I’m not getting any younger,” Mendes said. “I’m basically training every day for that and that’s the ultimate goal. Really, it’s not up to me. Basically, what the WEC and the UFC, whatever they had in mind, whatever they want me to do, I’m going to do. They’re the boss.

“I’m just going to keep doing my job. I’m going to train and I’m going to make weight. And just get in there and fight whoever’s in front of me. I personally think I’m ready for a title shot, but, like I said, ultimately it’s up to them.”

While Mendes may believe he is ready to fight for the belt, he is right to understand that it is not his decision to make. But, regardless of where the UFC believes Mendes sits in a division desperate for contenders, a title shot will not be waiting for him if he cannot pull out a victory the next time he steps into the cage.

Mendes is set to fight Michihiro Omigawa at UFC 126 on February 5 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The fight will be broadcast live on Spike TV prior to the pay-per-view portion of the event, giving Mendes the perfect opportunity to impress once again against a quality opponent.

But competing against a top level fighter in his first fight with the UFC in front of the hundreds of thousands of fans that will be watching would seem like a big jump in pressure. That’s something that Mendes does not have to worry about, however, due to the hard work he puts in prior to fight night.

“Omigawa’s a very, very tough opponent. He’s been in the sport for a while. He’s fought some really good guys, beat some really good guys. He’s ranked high in the world. Stylistically, I think he’s a great match up for me … Yeah, there’s a little bit of extra pressure, but, like I said, I just try to not let it get to me, just kind of use that as motivation to train harder and get in there and perform for all the fans.”

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