In January 2012, Jose Aldo ended Chad Mendes’ challenge for the UFC featherweight title quickly and in brutal fashion. A knee-strike from the Brazilian in the dying seconds of the opening round ensured that his storied reign as champion would continue and sent Mendes back to the famed drawing board.
But back Mendes went, and in the couple of years that followed he made huge leaps in terms of his overall game. Working with then Team Alpha Male coach Duane Ludwig, ‘Money’ morphed from a wrestling stud with little to offer on the feet into a real striking threat. In fact, Mendes would finish all of his next four opponents via KO/TKO. One more win, via decision over Nik Lentz, was enough to secure the squat American powerhouse another crack at the gold and a chance at redemption.
On October 25th 2014 at the Maracanazinho Gymnasium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Mendes certainly redeemed himself. He may not have come away with the belt, but he more than played his part in what was a truly epic war with Aldo and many felt that he should have been given the nod after five rounds.
With Aldo’s battle for UFC featherweight supremacy against interim titleholder Max Holloway less than two weeks away, the promotion have released Aldo vs Mendes 2 to YouTube in an attempt to whet the appetite for the featherweight feast to come.
If you have never seen this fight before, we implore you to check it out. If you have already seen it, you probably won’t need to be implored to watch it again.
There was one particularly interested observer seated cageside at the Maracanazinho that night. Just weeks removed from an impressive first-round TKO victory over Dustin Poirier, Conor McGregor was being touted as a potential future opponent for the winner of Aldo/Mendes. Knowing that the Irishman would be really into the action and that he was likely to provide some interesting analysis, the promotion made sure to fix a camera on McGregor and hook him up to a microphone for a feature called ‘Full Blast: Conor McGregor – Aldo vs Mendes 2’.
You can check it out below…
McGregor of course went on to beat Dennis Siver to land a title fight with Aldo at UFC 189 in July of 2015. However, Aldo subsequently pulled out through injury, leaving ‘The Notorious’ to fight Mendes on short-notice. McGregor stopped Mendes in the second to claim an interim title. However, he would go on to claim Aldo’s belt later that year, starching ‘Scarface’ in just 13 seconds at UFC 194.
McGregor subsequently left the division, though, and was later stripped of the title, allowing Aldo to once again take the featherweight throne. The aforementioned Holloway, who scooped an interim belt when he defeated Anthony Pettis last December, will try to usurp it on June 3rd at UFC 212.