Furthermore, the 145-pound champion says the only reason "Money" has racked up five straight wins since losing to him two years ago is because he's fighting competition that isn't well-ranked.
Since losing to Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweight champion Jose Aldo at UFC 142 two years ago, Chad Mendes has gone on a tear inside the Octagon.
Not only has he won five straight, but he's also proven that he is no longer just a powerful wrestler, but an accomplished striker, too, as he's racked up four straight knockout victories during that streak.
Not in Aldo's eyes, who told MMA Fighting that despite "Money's" recent run, he doesn't see much change in him since the time he knocked out the Team Alpha Male member in the first round. Plus, Chad's wins have come over opponents who weren't well-ranked at the time.
"The only different thing now is the age. The rest remains the same. I'm more experienced now, so I know what to do. I don't see any difference on him. He beat guys that weren't well ranked, but he deserves (another title shot). He's one of the best in this division, but I will go there and beat him. He hasn't fought anyone ranked, and I've been fighting all the challengers. But I'm going back to the gym, get my strategy ready and defeat him one more time."
Still, just because Chad has upped his striking IQ, Aldo doesn't believe the Californian will choose to stand and trade punch-for-punch with him when the two meet for a second time at UFC 179 on Sat., Oct. 25, 2014, inside the Maracanãzinho Gymnasium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
"I don't think he will, but I really hope he does. That's the only way, actually, he doesn't have much choice. I respect his wrestling, that's his home, but it's hard to take me down. He will have to fight me standing."
The two came face-to-face for the first time on Tuesday after months of back-and-forth verbal sparring; and what seemed like your normal staredown almost brought flashbacks of the now-infamous brawl between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier after Aldo shoved Mendes (see the video here).
The shove, however, was premeditated, as Aldo revealed he and his team tried to come up with a way to "spice things up" and promote the upcoming rematch. To confuse things, he went on to say that ultimately the shove wasn't staged, it was something that happened in the heat of the moment.
Nevertheless, "Junior" says it won't happen again because at the end of the day, it's not his style.
"We were talking to Andre (Pederneiras) in a meeting about how we could improve our fight promotions. It's part of the show. But I told Andre after (the staredown) that it's not my style. It was not staged, we were talking (trash) to each other and it happened. ... We (Aldo and Pederneiras) tried to spice things up, but that's it. I've never pushed anyone during a staredown before. I should behave better. I'm not saying I regret it. We did it, it was good. There was a good thing about it that people are now talking about it, but it's not who I am. It won't happen again."
Still, despite the brief scuffle, Aldo says it's really not personal with Mendes, and all he wants to do is take care of business one more time.
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