Chad Mendes has been watching Clay Guida fight for years, because beyond just being a fan of the former lightweight contender, he's also become friends with him as well.
When the UFC called and asked Mendes to face Guida in his second fight at featherweight he accepted because his job is to face whomever the promotion puts in front of him, and for those 15 minutes they will have to be bitter enemies in the cage.
Mendes has won his last three fights in a row with none of them making it out of the first round, which has put him back into the discussion for a featherweight title shot. He knows that it all goes away if he can't get past Guida. There is a bit of an unknown factor for Mendes going into this one.
Prior to his last two fights, Guida was known as one of the craziest, most exciting fighters to watch in the sport. During his UFC career, he took home five different Fight of the Night awards.
Lately, however, Guida has started to strategize more, avoiding the crazy exchanges and wild scrambles that defined his UFC career. The change in game plans has had fans in a bit of a frenzy, wondering what happened to the Guida of old. Mendes admits while looking at his friend's recent fights that Guida's style has changed dramatically from his previous performances in the Octagon.
"There are a lot of fans that have been upset at how he's fought lately," Mendes said. "He does have a lot of footwork and a lot of in-and-out movement, and he does not bang like he used to, just sit in the pocket and throw, and that's always exciting for the fans.
"I think his last few fights, I think he's fighting to just not lose instead of fighting to win, and that's tough to watch sometimes."
Mendes isn't about to play into that idea. He plans on putting Guida away to notch another win on his resume and get that much closer to another shot at the gold.
Check out this entire interview with Mendes, as he addresses Guida's recent fights and the friendship that will be put on hold for at least one night at UFC 164.