UFC

Aldo to defend UFC title against Mendes

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Bill Reiter

Bill Reiter reported on LeBron James' first season in Miami and has covered the NBA Finals, Super Bowl, Olympics and NCAA tournament for FOXSports.com. He also co-hosts Hawkins and Reiter on FOX Sports Radio (Sundays, 12-3 p.m. ET), which can be heard on the FOX Sports App, iHeartRadio, XM247 or your local station. Previously, he was an award-winning sports enterprise writer for the Kansas City Star. Follow him on Twitter.

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LAS VEGAS

Fighting in his home country of Brazil, Jose Aldo will defend his UFC Featherweight Title Jan. 14 in UFC 142 against undefeated fighter Chad Mendes, FOXSports.com has learned.

The fight will pair Aldo’s electrifying style, one punctuated by ferocious flying knees and lighting-quick submissions, against a nuanced ground game Mendes honed as an NCAA Division I wrestler.

That’s the technical stuff. The other side of the fighters’ match, which will be at a venue UFC officials plan to announce in the next week or so, centers on each one’s mentor.

Aldo considers UFC Middleweight king Anderson Silva his "big brother." Mendes is friends with Chael Sonnen, Anderson’s hated rival. Silva and Sonnen are expected to fight in a rematch of their 2010 classic soon after Aldo v Mendes.

So consider Aldo vs. Mendes not just a title bout in its own right but a prelude to a grudge match spreading from one heated rivalry to another.

"Pound-for-pound superstar Jose Aldo will return home to fight in Brazil for the first time since 2007 when he defends his UFC featherweight title against unbeaten powerhouse Chad Mendes," UFC president Dana White told FOXSports.com. "Aldo hasn’t lost in over five years, but Mendes has yet to lose in MMA, and after clearing out all the contenders put in his way, he believes he has what it takes to beat the champion."

Aldo is 20-1 in his career. Mendes is 11-0.

Aldo, who earned his way to the top of the MMA world after enduring such extreme poverty that he often trained without eating for days, is considered the best 145-pound fighter on the face of the earth.

Now it’s time to see just how long that’ll prove to be true.

You can follow Bill Reiter on Twitter or email him at foxsportsreiter@gmail.com.

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