Chad Mendes: The UFC Demanded Alexander Volkanovski Fight

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Chad Mendes discusses
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Chad Mendes will be making his second trip to the Octagon in 2018 this Saturday at UFC 232 when he takes on Alexander Volkanovski in a fight that will carry a great deal of significance for the featherweight rankings. But just because Mendes is a willing participant in this intriguing contest does not mean he sees the sensibility of the bout:

“To me it honestly didn’t make sense to fight backwards but this was the fight the UFC demanded I fight, so honestly there’s not much I can do but do what they tell me in this instance,” Mendes told MMAWeekly. “It’s a fight that I’m taking very serious. He’s a guy trying to work his way up and work his way up the rankings and trying to make a name off me and I can’t let that happen.”

The UFC’s insistence that Chad Mendes fight Volkanovski was no doubt influenced by Volkanovski’s  colorful 18-1 record, five of which having come in the UFC to extend his 14-fight winning streak. All Mendes sees, however, is a guy who stands in his way of bigger and better opportunities:

“This is a guy that I need to go out there and put away and completely dominate and prove that I am where I am because I deserve to be there and because of how good I am. Beating a guy like this hopefully the UFC will see that I’ve taken this time off and I’m beating good guys and now let’s put him back in line for the title shot. That’s the goal, that’s the plan. I’ve just got to get in there and whoop this dude.”

As for how the fight will play out stylistically, Chad Mendes believes that it will come down to a standing up to a bully:

“I feel like we have a very similar fighting style,” Mendes admitted. “He was a 200-plus pound rugby player. He’s used to being able to bully guys in the Octagon but he hasn’t fought anybody like me in his career. Once he’s in there and he realizes he can’t bully me around, it’s going to change his entire game plan.”

“Ultimately I feel like my speed, my wrestling is a lot better. I feel like as long as I keep my fight IQ up the entire time, there’s no way this guy beats me.”

Do you believe Chad Mendes vs. Alexander Volkanovski was the right fight for the UFC to make?