RIO DE JANEIRO -- Jose Aldo remains the UFC featherweight champion, but Chad Mendes proved to be a great challenge at Saturday night’s UFC 179 in Brazil.
The first and only 145-pound champion, Aldo defended his title for the seventh consecutive time, the third in Brazil, and he feels even better when performing in front of his countrymen.
"With this sold out arena singing and chanting, I feel I’m unbeatable," Aldo said on the post-fight press conference. "I respect everybody, but you have to kill me to defeat me in front of this crowd.
"Chad’s confidence had increased a lot, but that was good that he kept the fight standing because I knew the fight would be in my hands. I just stayed calm. I have to thank him for making this fight."
Aldo clearly won the decision, but that doesn’t mean the fight ended without some controversy. The referee came in late when the first round was over, and Aldo almost knocked Mendes out with a couple extra punches.
"When the round was over, I thought the fight was over," Aldo said. "When I connected the punches and the referee stepped in, I thought it was over. I was about to run into the crowd, but I’m glad I didn’t [laughs]."
"[Mendes] got hit after the bell. I think that threw a lot of people off," UFC president Dana White told Ariel Helwani on UFC Tonight. "People were going crazy that watched it on TV. But anybody that knows that was here live, you couldn't hear it. I didn't hear the bell go off."
"I don't think [the referee] heard [the bell]," he continued. "I didn't hear it. I didn't know either till after. My phone was blowing up from people were going crazy that were watching on TV saying how dirty that was that he got hit with two punches after, but it was so loud in this arena you couldn't hear anything."
Mendes, who rocked and knocked Aldo down a couple times in the fight, came up short in Rio de Janeiro, but the champion doesn’t think he’s done after going 0-2 in title fights.
"We’ve seen Frankie (Edgar) fighting Gray Maynard a third time, so I think it happens," Aldo said. "I believe Chad won a lot with this fight. If there’s a third one, we’ll win a lot. He’s a great athlete and will always be fighting at the highest level. Him losing again doesn’t mean he doesn’t work anymore. He has a huge potential and we might meet again in the future. If we keep fighting, our pockets will be full."
"There’s no revenge," Aldo added when asked of his relationship with Team Alpha Male and Renan Barao’s recent loss to T.J. Dillashaw. "Aldo is one guy, Barao is another one. We’re friends, we’re teammates, but it’s a fight. Each one will defend his name. I represented not only my team, but the entire country tonight. There’s no revenge. If I fight for it one day, it’s time to stop. As long as I fight for myself, I will stay champion."