Augusto Mendes is finally ready to have his MMA debut this coming UFC Fight Night 83. However, the jiu-jitsu veteran revealed that he is greatly concerned about the weight that he needs to reach in time for his bantamweight fight against Cody Garbrandt.
The highly awarded jiu-jitsu world champion has agreed to fight in place of John Lineker on a six-day notice. In line with this, Mendes revealed that he had tried to convince the promotion to match him up with Garbrandt in a different weight division.
“We tried to make this fight at 145 pounds, I suggested a 140-pound catchweight, but they wanted it at 135. I told them I will be at 136. I think I will, but you always have doubts because I never had to cut that much in a short period of time for a fight before, so it’s something new for me. I hope it doesn’t affect my performance,” Mendes said.
Some sources say that Mendes’ camp didn’t exactly tell the UFC how much he weighed when he accepted the invitation to fill in for John Lineker; they only said that he would be able to reach the target weight in time for the fight. A UFC official said that Mendes’ camp told the UFC that Mendes would be available to fight either at 145 or 135 pounds, then they were offered to fight Garbrandt. The MMA promotion didn’t pressure Mendes into accepting the offer at all.
Mendes revealed that he was actually 26 pounds over the weight limit for the bantamweight division when he was offered to fill in for Lineker. This was why he decided to get help from famous nutritionist George Lockhart this week.
“That’s my biggest concern. I don’t even know if I’m going to make weight. I hope I do. It’s complicated. I hired a nutritionist to help me this week, and I’m following everything he says. It looks a bit hard, it’s on short notice, but we’ll see. I’m doing something different that I usually do. I normally have a six-week camp and I’m fine, but it’s different now,” Mendes said.
When Thursday afternoon came, Mendes revealed that he was down five pounds. Usually, he has about nine pounds to cut a few days before a scheduled MMA bout.
“I told them I would make the weight,” said Mendes.
On a happier note, Mendes admitted he is happy to be facing an undefeated fighter as his MMA debut. Mendes, who also agreed to fight Charles Rosa also on a short notice last January but had to be pulled out due to a rib injury, said that Garbrandt is a better opponent because of his record.
“Cody is better ranked than Charles Rosa. I believe that a win over him in my UFC debut, on six days’ notice, would be a great way to show myself to the world,” Mendes said.
Garbrandt would be coming in with a record of 7-0 this coming Sunday with just one win by decision after six straight KOs. Mendes, on the other hand, has a record of 5-0 with five stoppages on his record.
“I’m always training everything, working on my ground game and sharpening my hands and my wrestling. My game plan is always the same: go to the ground when the opportunity is there, but never run away from a stand-up fight. That’s my strategy in every fight. I will feel the fight. If I have a chance to go to the ground, I will, and I’m ready to fight him standing as well. I see myself winning wherever the fight goes. I just want my hand raised in the end. I have an open mind for any opportunity. I just want my hand raised,” Mendes added.