The UFC featherweight champion was recently forced out of his Aug. 2 rematch with Mendes at UFC 176, and the challenger used the downtime to add some fuel to their eventual battle, questioning Aldo's injury history and insinuating that Aldo simply doesn't want to take the fight.
While Aldo did not reply immediately to Mendes' claim that the Brazilian champ "can't run from me forever," the eventual response was well worth the wait. Paralleling his fighting style perfectly, Aldo struck with ferocity, attacking Mendes as a person and as a fighter.
Maybe I have so many injuries because I’m not taking the same ‘supplements’ you take. I have injuries because I train a lot to beat you like I did last time, and I think you remember that and still have nightmares about it. ... Maybe you can prescript (sic) one of your supplements so I can heal faster.
In addition, Aldo responded to Mendes' frustrations about their fight possibly being rescheduled in Brazil. On The MMA Hour, Mendes said he didn't want to go to Brazil since their first fight took place there. Instead, he feels that Aldo needs to come stateside for the rematch.
You’re the one who seems to only fight at your home, who desperately doesn’t want to fight in Brazil. I got injured before and my fight with Frankie Edgar was moved from Brazil to Las Vegas. I fought your coach (Urijah Faber) in your home (Sacramento), fought at Mark Hominick’s home in front of 55,000 fans, I fought in Japan and Europe. And now you tell me you want to be the champion? A champion doesn’t choose opponents or where the fight is going to be. And now I ask you, who’s the real p---y?
Here, each man makes a valid point. As Mendes noted, Aldo's injury history is significant, and their first fight was initially expected to go down at UFC 133 in Philadelphia before Aldo withdrew and fought Mendes in Brazil at UFC 142.
On the flip side, Mendes is the one with something to prove here, and he's not exactly in a position to be calling the shots. Aldo knocked him out in the first round at UFC 142, and a rematch really benefits Mendes more than Aldo. The champ can hardly improve on his first performance, while Mendes can take out a legend, earn the championship belt and notch the biggest win of his life.
Where that's concerned, it's clear Aldo is having none of Mendes' complaints, and he upped the ante by calling out Mendes' "supplement" usage, hinting that the featherweight standout may be dabbling in illegal substances.
For the record, neither fighter has been caught using any banned substances in the past, but the UFC is revving up its testing frequency and veteran fighters in Chael Sonnen and Ali Bagautinov recently got dinged with serious infractions.
In addition, UFC middleweight Tim Kennedy notices the changes, and he recently told ESPN.com's Brett Okamoto the chaos is only beginning.
Whether or not Aldo's words are validated remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: Aldo vs. Mendes II just got a heck of a lot more fun.