WEC Featherweight fighter Chad Mendes chats with The Scores Report

Chad Mendes believes he can be one of the best mixed-martial artists in the world.

On Wednesday, he will have his chance to prove it.

Sporting a 7-0 record in his young pro career, the WEC Featherweight faces his toughest challenge in Cub Swanson in WEC 50: Cruz vs. Benavidez, live on Versus at 9PM ET.

I got a chance to speak with up-and-coming fighter and ask him about his big fight with Swanson, as well has training with guys like Urijah Faber and Joseph Benavidez, and his sponsorship with AMP Energy.

The Scores Report: Hey Chad, how is everything going?

Chad Mendes: Everything is great, just excited for my next fight.

TSR: Well before we get to your fight with Cub Swanson, talk about your last fight in which you defeated Anthony Morris at WEC 48, a pay-per-view event that took place Sacramento, where you train. What was that whole experience like and by winning by submission in the first round, was it the best performance of your career?

CM: Well, I took that fight on short notice and when the WEC asked me to fill in for an injured fighter, I had to say yes. I got in a solid week of training and went over techniques and a game plan and I really worked on the arm-in guillotine choke. I was having dreams about getting that choke in and when the fight happened, it was just like I had dreamed and the choke was there, so I sunk it in and got the win. In terms of fighting in Sacramento, that was just unbelievable. The crowd was nuts and there was so much energy in the building. It was a great feeling.

TSR: How big is this upcoming fight with Cub Swanson, who has fought some of the best in the world, including current featherweight champion, Jose Aldo?

CM: Every fight is big, but this is clearly a huge step in my career. Fighting Cub is a great honor for me. He is a tough guy and faced all the top opponents. He is a real scrapper and he pushes a tough pace. I am expecting a war and not matter what happens, fighting a guy like Cub can only make me better.

TSR: This fight will be your third since March, are you comfortable having so many fights in a short period of time?

CM: I am used to it because I wrestled two or three times a week throughout high school and college. I am used to being active and really I had to adjust to waiting for two or three months to compete like I do in MMA. After this fight, I am getting married in September, so I will probably take some time off then.

TSR: As a young fighter, what do you consider your strengths and weaknesses?

CM: I think I keep improving each day. I train three to four times a day and I think right now, my weakness is my stand-up game, but I keep getting better with that. Obviously my wrestling would be my strength, but I think my jiu-jitsu is really coming along as well.

TSR: You are undefeated at this point in your career, do you feel more pressure with each fight to avoid your first loss?

CM: I don’t really think too much about it. I went unbeaten my senior year of college until the end and I really didn’t realize it until other people mentioned it to me. I don’t think there is pressure with being undefeated because to me, it is just fun to be doing what I am doing. This is a dream to be able to compete and get paid for it.

TSR: Who has been your toughest opponent to date?

CM: Probably my first opponent in the WEC, Erik Koch. He was a southpaw and really strong. He gave me the most trouble. It was a really tough fight, but I still managed to win by decision.

TSR: Where do you see yourself right now in the featherweight landscape?

CM: I am still young and still learning. The WEC is going to put me in the cage with guys that they think I will have a good fight with and be competitive with. If they think someday that I deserve a title fight, I will certainly take it. But, right now, I am still just working my way up the ladder and improving on my skills.

TSR: You train at Ultimate Fitness in Sacramento with “Team Alpha Male” alongside Urijah Faber and Joseph Benavidez. Originally all three of you were scheduled to fight on this card together before Faber got hurt. What is it like at the gym when you are all prepping for a fight on the same day?

CM: It is great when we are all on a card together because we have this great brotherhood. We really push each other and they make me so much better. It is cool because we are the AMP boys and I am the young guy in the group, so it is really a great opportunity for me.

TSR: Talk about your sponsorship with AMP Energy and how big that is for you in your young career.

CM: AMP has been great and they are a huge sponsor for a guy like me. There aren’t a lot of companies out there like AMP and they have decided to back me and that gives me a lot of confidence. Their support helps me take my training to another level and I don’t know where I would be without them.

TSR: AMP has promoted this “Hometown Takedown” which will bring an event to a city that fans voted on. If you could have a match anywhere in the world, where would it be?

CM: I think a place like New York would be really awesome. Hopefully they legalize MMA there soon, because that would be a great place to have an event.

TSR: Is there anything you would like to say to your fans?

CM: I just want to thank everyone for their support. It means the world to me. I want to thank my mom and dad for everything they do and just thank my sponsors for backing me.

TSR: Well Chad, best of luck against Cub Swanson and with future fights.

CM: Thanks man.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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