BOISE, Idaho – Chad Mendes believes that his performance in his return to the eighteenth century has put him right back in the mix in the featherweight division.
In his first match since December 2015 after an American anti-doping agency suspension, Mendes (18-4 MMA, 9-4 UFC) proved that he is still one of the best 145 pounders in the world when he ran in the Myles Jury (17- 3 MMA, 8-3 UFC) for an impressive first round of TKO on Saturday at the UFC Fight Night 133.
Although Mendes lost two and a half years due to the suspension, the former multi-titular challenger considers that the show against the jury should insert him directly back to his former status as one of the division's top ranked challengers.
"I think I left No. 2 or No. 3 – put me back there," Mendes told MMAjunkie after battle. "That's where I belong. There are some newer guys moving into the division, but I feel that I'm matching these guys. My athleticism, my power, my speed, my wrestling back. I think it will only be Too much for these guys to handle. I'm sure to go against any of these dudes. Put me right back where I was. "
The UFC Fight Night 133 took place at the CenturyLink Arena in Boise, Idaho. Mendes vs. The jury was broadcast on the FS1 TV section of the card after early prelims on the UFC Fight Pass.
Just a few battles before Mendes trampled in the eighth o'clock, a striker Alex Volkanovski (18-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) earned a dominant victory over Mendes' Team Alpha Male teammate Darren Elkins. Then Volkanovski said he would fight Mendes if he won his battle, because he sees "Money" as a name that could lift him.
Mendes acknowledged the callout mail campaign and although he did not express much interest in the matchup, he said he would be open to it – along with someone else – as long as they are in a fixed position in the ranking.
"That guy is not even rated," Mendes said. "It's not meaningful to me, he just beat a teammate. If they put him high enough in the rankings, I'd love to beat this guy." It's up to the UFC. It was a quick fight for me and if they want to give me something in a few months or at the end of the year, I think my bosses will soon negotiate with them. We'll see what they think. I'm a game for something. "
In particular, Mendes said that he Just happy to be back. He expressed a new motivation after so far away from the eighteenth century, and while revealing some ex-jerseys who worried him, he was proud to put on such a definite achievement against the jury.
"It felt good," said Mendes. "I'm on Cloud 9 right now. Just getting there and getting such a finish in such an environment, with so many friends and family in the crowd, is just incredible. So I kill myself every day to get such a finish. "
For full coverage of the UFC Fight Night 133, check out the UFC Events section of the website.