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Augusto Mendes undergoes knee surgery, hopes for late-2016 return to the UFC

David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports

Augusto Mendes came up short in his UFC debut, suffering his first MMA loss to Cody Garbrandt in February, and won’t be back in action for awhile. The multiple-time jiu-jitsu champion was forced to undergo surgery last week to repair a left knee injury.

"I got hurt training and had to go under the knife again," Mendes told MMA Fighting. "I tried to train for weeks, but couldn’t do it. I decided to do a MRI almost a month after I got hurt, and the exam showed that I tore my ACL and also the lateral meniscus. I had surgery on both."

Mendes could be sidelined until 2017, but is optimistic that he will have the chance to score his first win inside the Octagon later this year.

"Doctors always say the recovery will take longer, especially in this case," he said. "They said it would take six to nine months, and it could even take up to one year. It depends on each case. Some people recover faster, others don’t. But they will always say it’s longer so you don’t create any expectations. I’ve been through other surgeries, I know how that works.

"Knowing myself, I believe I’ll be back to training in four months, and then train for a while. I should be back by the end of the end. But it depends. I will have a better idea when I start the physical therapy. It’s too soon to know how I am now."

Mendes was planning on competing at the IBJJF World Championship in June, but the knee injury forced him to change plans. Targeting a late-2016 return, "Tanquinho" looks back at what he did wrong against Garbrandt.

"Nobody likes to lose," he said. "It was a tough opponent, and I only had five days to prepare, but I wasn’t expecting to lose. I was confident on the victory. I know which mistakes I did. I waited too long, should have tried to use my jiu-jitsu in the beginning. It was nice to fight in the UFC, a good experience, but nothing different than any of my other fights. I’ve competed around the world in a lot of jiu-jitsu world finals, where the pressure is too high. I don’t get nervous about it."

"I should have done more sparring," he added. "I was coming off a rib injury and took this fight right away, and lacked confidence. But it’s fine. I will be back. I’m confident that I will do well."

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