Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com spoke to Chad Mendes about future opponent Jose Aldo's UFC 129 fight against Mark Hominick earlier today, and his insight was a bit surprising. Mendes heard that Aldo had been up as high as 174 pounds, which would definitely play into the idea that the weight cut sapped the champ's gas tank. But Mendes offered up another explanation in addition to that:
"The weight cut might have been part of it but I’m sticking with it’s a completely different kind of conditioning when you’re on the ground," Mendes told ESPN.com. "His wrestling and grappling conditioning is not the same as his standup conditioning.
"Being explosive on the feet is different than grappling, with the squeezing and pushing and pulling. It’s different on your muscles. We haven’t seen him on the ground a lot and I think that played a part in how tired he looked."
Mendes comes from a wrestling background and was a two-time All-American at Cal Poly, so his knowledge of ground conditioning is certainly up there. There is clearly a lot of tape to study when it comes to Jose Aldo, but almost of all of it is standing. Mendes wanted to see what Aldo had on the ground, and it doesn't sound like he was all that impressed:
"I just remember thinking, ‘Wow. This isn’t what I thought it was going to be,’" Mendes said. "Honestly, it’s what I wanted to see, though. We haven’t seen anybody get on top of him or him do much grappling.
"That’s really the only place I wanted to see this guy and getting to see it was a huge confidence booster for me."
This is all very important stuff to Chad because he's the man that will be facing Aldo next. While the fight hasn't been absolutely confirmed yet, it is expected that Aldo will defend his UFC featherweight title against Mendes at UFC 133 in Philadelphia.