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BJJ ace ‘Tanquinho’ Mendes: More than 15 fighters have declined to fight me

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Legacy FC

Jiu-jitsu world champion Augusto Mendes wants to add a title to his MMA career.

A black belt under the legendary Francisco Mansor, "Tanquinho" improved his mixed martial arts record to 5-0 with another finish at Legacy FC 43 in July, and he hopes to finally have a chance to fight for the bantamweight gold in his next bout.

"They already promised me the title before my last fight, but the truth is nobody wants to fight me," Mendes told MMAFighting.com. "I asked them for a fight, title or not, and they offered me this guy (Donald Williams) and I accepted it. They told me my next fight should be for the title."

At 3-0 under the promotion’s banner, finishing Richard Delfin, Evan Martinez and Williams, "Tanquinho" claims nobody wants to enter the cage against him.

"They hear I’m a jiu-jitsu champion and think ‘there’s a lot of jiu-jitsu champions out there’, they think it’s easy, but when they find out I’m a world champion as a black belt it makes a difference," he said. "There are fighters in the UFC who call themselves jiu-jitsu world champions, but they never won the IBJJF world championship as a black belt. That’s completely different. When they find out I’m an IBJJF black belt world champion and realize the fight won’t be easy, they pull out.

"Since I signed for my MMA debut, I believe more than 15 guys pulled out," Mendes continued. "For my first two or three fights, I guess I had 10 different opponents. They say yes, then Google my name and that’s it. It looks like fighters with a good record don’t want to fight me. But that’s it. I want to win the belt no matter what."

The last man to win the Legacy FC bantamweight title was Thomas Almeida, who went to sign with the UFC and win post-fight bonuses after each of his three wins inside the Octagon. Mendes, who had former UFC champion Ben Henderson in his corner in his last fight, wants to follow Almeida to the Octagon.

"The last guy to win this belt went to the UFC and is undefeated," he said, "so that might be a good opportunity for me."

Mendes’ completed his three-fight contract with Legacy FC in his last bout, but wants to sign a new deal in order to win the title.

"I really like to fight for Legacy," said Mendes, who expects to finally fight for the belt in November after competing at ADCC this month in Sao Paulo, Brazil. "This promotion opened a lot of doors for me, and I believe that many other doors will open after I win that title. If I go to other promotion now, I will have to start all over again. I’m all ears, but I believe I’ll sign a new deal with them so I can win that belt."

Legacy FC would grant "Tanquinho" a release from his contract if the UFC made him an offer, and that’s his goal.

"I truly feel ready to fight in the UFC now," he said. "I train with a lot of UFC fighters at MMA Lab and would sign with the UFC in heartbeat. I want to win the Legacy title, which is an important belt, but I would definitely go to the UFC right now if they make me an offer."