Touted as one of the top featherweights in the UFC, Chad Mendes should soon get his shot at reigning champion José Aldo. First, though, he has to get past his task for this coming Saturday: he has to beat the always dangerous Rani Yahya, winner of the 2007 ADCC and bearer of one of the most refined Jiu-Jitsu games in MMA.
But Chad isn’t concerned about any of his foe’s accolades. At least that’s the impression he gave off in a conversation with GRACIEMAG.com collaborator Diego Marcello between training sessions with teammates Justin and Fabio at his hotel in Philadelphia, where UFC 133 is set to go down.
Are you ready for Rani?
I’m 100% prepared. I know Rani’s got a really dangerous ground game, but I’m completely comfortable on the ground. What I want most is for the fight to go to the ground!
Your team, Alpha Male, and Rani’s, Ataide Junior’s Constrictor, are tied 1-1. Does that inspire any rivalry between you?
No, I’m not thinking about that rivalry, all I’m thinking about is winning. I’m a hunter, and right now I’m hunting the belt. I hope to get my shot soon; it’s what I want most in my career, and I’m doing everything I need to to achieve it.
What do you think of Brazil? Do you think you might come train Jiu-Jitsu in these parts?
Yes, I really want to go to Brazil. I love fishing and would love to fish around there – and, of course, do a little training (laughs)!