At WEC 50 on Wednesday night, the fans were given a great night of fights. Bart Palaszewski kicked things off quickly with a second round KO of Zach Micklewright, Scott Jorgensen and Brad Pickett provided an excellent fight themselves, and both Chad Mendes and Anthony Pettis showed that they're both major players in their division.
There were three fights tonight that had major title implications...four if you count the main event. In his dominant unanimous decision win over 14-4 Cub Swanson, Chad Mendes has announced himself to the rest of the division. But is a win over Cub Swanson enough? I don't think so.
A fight with former champion Mike Brown would be a great fight for both men, as well as a good gauge of Mendes' talent. We already know he can wrestle, but what will happen when he fights a guy who won't be easily taken down?
While there was no question that Chad Mendes beat Cub Swanson, it was noted that Cub Swanson was winning many of the stand-up exchanges. Mike Brown, while a noted wrestler himself, is also a good boxer, and he has the power to put Mendes to sleep if he lands a good punch.
Mike Brown, of course, is the former WEC featherweight champion, and somewhat like Matt Hughes, he is being used to see how good the young up-and-comers are. When we last saw Mike Brown, he got brutally KO'd by TUF 5 alum Manny Gamburyan. Gamburyan, coincidentally, is fighting José Aldo in a fight for the featherweight belt.
While an undefeated Chad Mendes may make for a better storyline heading into a potential title shot. Most fighters get better after their first career loss. If Chad Mendes is outboxed because he can't take the fight to the ground, you can bet money that he will work primarily on his stand-up leading into a bounce-back fight.
A fight with Mike Brown also makes sense in the same way the Matt Hughes-Ricardo Almeida fight made sense. Mike Brown has defeated Urijah Faber twice. For those of you that don't know, Chad Mendes trains at Team Alpha Male, Urijah's gym in his hometown of Sacramento. If Chad won that fight, he could potentially fight the winner of Gamburyan-Aldo, and avenge his mentor's loss at the same time.
This fight makes sense in so many ways that I would have already booked it. But of course, we'll have to see how Mike Brown fares in his next fight against Cole Province at WEC 51. By then, Chad Mendes could already have a fight booked. Only time will tell.