With Kenny Florian dispatched and out of the featherweight picture following UFC 136, promotion champion Jose Aldo (20-1) had little time to rest before being faced with the proposition of his next opponent. Chad Mendes (11-0), an undefeated former-All American wrestler from California, has continued his blitzkrieg of the 145-pound division since transferring from the WEC to UFC with dominant victories over Michihiro Omigawa and Rani Yahya, and now sits on the precipice of the mountaintop.
When asked about Mendes' status at the post-UFC 136 press conference, UFC President Dana White coolly responded, "I'm pretty sure, yeah," before adding a stipulation, "But we'll see. Maybe Frankie (Edgar) calls me and says he wants to move to 145. We'll see what happens."
While the prospect of Aldo vs. Edgar at 145 pounds is tantalizing, the lightweight champion made it clear he plans to remain at 155 pounds for the near future. In the meantime, Aldo believes Mendes should have been the one fighting at UFC 136 all along.
"In my mind I thought Chad Mendes was the one deserving the title shot," Aldo said to MMA Weekly last week. "He's done a lot in the featherweight division, but Kenny (Florian) has a name."
With the support of the champion and an unblemished, yet impressive record, Mendes appears to have solidified has spot as the number-one contender. Still, in such a public sport, it never hurts to be a little vocal about it.
"I'm expecting the title fight. I should be the next one in line," Mendes declared to Cagewriter days before the fight. "I've proven myself. 11-0 kind of speaks for itself."