Calling the rivalry between UFC champion Jose Aldo and challenger Chad Mendes bitter would be a huge understatement; these guys literally hate one another and all they want to do is smash each other. You can literally see the animosity between the two when they are in the same room. It’s a powder keg just waiting for a spark.

At UFC 179 at Ginasio do Maracanazinho in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Aldo will once again put his title on the line against Mendes, who is hoping for a much better result than last time. When the two first met at UFC 142, also in Rio, Mendes was knocked out late in the first round after Aldo landed a vicious knee.

Since that time, Mendes has been on a tear, winning five straight bouts with four by way of knockout. But Aldo is no flash in the pan champion; he is as dominant a champion as there is in the sport today.

Aldo has lost one fight in his career — a lightweight fight in November of 2005. He hasn’t lost since that time; that’s nine years. Aldo is simply a beast who has dominated the featherweight division. He is the first and only featherweight champion in UFC history.

But he can’t sleep on Mendes. Just because he beat him once does not mean he will beat him again. Mendes has made a lot of improvements to his game so if Aldo is going to defend his belt in front of his countrymen, he is going to have to do these three things.

1 – Leg Kicks

Aldo has some of the most devastating and debilitating leg kicks in the sport and his leg kicks have played a key role in his dominance. When you effectively take a fighter’s legs out of the game, you win. Leg kicks will break Mendes down in addition to taking away his speed and power.

2 – Keep the distance

Mendes’ striking has come a long way but when things get tough in the cage, he is still a wrestler at heart and he is an elite wrestler. The more distance Aldo is able to maintain, the bigger his advantage will be because it will force Mendes to have to close the distance. The more distance he has to cover the more vulnerable it will make him when he does. Aldo’s leg kicks go hand in hand with keeping the distance and forcing Mendes to get overly aggressive.

3 – Controlled Aggression

The biggest knock on Aldo has always been his cardio; he seems to fade in the championship rounds and he coasts because of the lead he builds on the judges’ scorecards early. That can’t happen against Mendes. Mendes is a cardio machine and if he is there in the later rounds, he will capitalize on any slowdown by Aldo. As long as Aldo fights a composed fight and doesn’t get overly aggressive in spots he will have the gas later in the fight to keep Mendes at bay.

About The Author

RJ Gardner
Content Coordinator

RJ Gardner is a rabid sports fan and a long time MMA enthusiast. After watching UFC 1 at ripe old age of 11 RJ was hooked and his passion for the sport has continued to blossom over the years. RJ has been covering MMA since 2007 and has had work featured on Bleacher Report, SI.com, CBSSports.com and UFC.com. RJ is also a Petroleum Transportation Operations Manager during the day.