Chad Mendes took out Ricardo Lamas in spectacular fashion yesterday at UFC Fight Night 63, and now the big question is, what now?
As you likely know, Mendes was the #1 ranked, featherweight contender going into Saturday’s card, and obviously, that’s not going to change. So, what do you do with a guy that has pretty much cruised through everyone he’s faced in recent years, except for the champ, Jose Aldo? Well, according to Mendes, you tap him for a third crack at the belt.
While speaking at the post-fight presser yesterday, here is some of what “Money” had to say when asked about his short term future (quote via MMA Fighting.com):
“I’ve been trying to figure out who I would fight after this, if I were to go out there and beat Ricardo. The only thing that makes sense in my mind is back for that title,” Mendes said. “We’ve just got to wait to see what happens with Aldo-McGregor and Frankie-Faber. So we’ll see.
“I’m kind of just in a weird spot right now.”
A weird, but good spot, indeed. Heading into the scrap, Mendes argued that since his last bout with Aldo was “so close”, fans would want to see him battle the champ for a third time. While that may be true down the road, chances are the UFC isn’t going to book Aldo-Mendes III later this year, if the champ gets by Conor McGregor on July 11th. That’s just the way the UFC rolls. It’s too soon.
If McGregor takes the belt, however, then Mendes could very well get a crack at the title. Frankie Edgar is also lurking in the wings, however, and if he defeats Urijah Faber on May 16th, he’d be another top candidate. Edgar has only challenged for the featherweight belt once.
Mendes went on to say that he wants to stay busy, so when you consider that Aldo-McGregor is several months away, the belt might not be up for grabs until November or so. In other words, the UFC could very well call on the Team Alpha Male fighter to compete in the interim.
Regardless of what happens in the coming months, there’s no question that there’s plenty of compelling bouts to be made at 145. Cub Swanson could also be set to make another run, provided he can defeat Max Holloway at UFC on FOX 15.