“I’m just pumped that this time is finally here,” Mendes told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Savage Dog Show.” “I feel like I’ve been training for this one moment my entire life. I started wrestling when I was five and I never took a year off. This is all just the payoff from starting that young and all that dedication and hard work that I’ve put in. It’s time for me to get out there and show the world who I am and what I’m here to do.”
Mendes’ rise in MMA has been quick. He’s only been fighting professionally since September 2008. However, before fighting he was a standout wrestler at Cal Poly who lost just once his senior year -- in the NCAA championship.
“At that time, nothing was more important to me than winning that NCAA title,” Mendes said. “I had tunnel vision. That’s all I cared about and that’s all I trained for and that’s all I wanted. I came up short. It’s a heartbreaker. It’s something that I’ll always think about and always remember, but … all that work was basically in preparation for what I’m doing now. Now I have tunnel vision for this. This is what I train my hardest for. I’m in here every day busting my butt. It’s tunnel vision for that belt, and that’s the new thing.”
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