Although Chad Mendes supporters may have been crossing their fingers on the outside chance he might get a rematch with Jose Aldo, the UFC has announced that “Money” will fight the promotion’s #8th ranked featherweight Nik Lenzt next. Not surprisingly, the bout has been booked for the December 14th, UFC on FOX  9, which will go down in Sacramento, California, where Mendes and his Team Alpha Male teammates are based (you may recall that his buddy and training partner Urijah Faber will fight Michael McDonald that same night).

Mendes (15-1) has been hoping to fight Aldo once again, now that he’s stopped four straight opponents since the champ took him out last January, but obviously the promotion has gone another direction. The powerful wrestler and striker has stopped Cody McKenzie, Yaotzin Meza, Darren Elkins and most recently Clay Guida since his run in with Aldo.  Mendes is still ranked as the division’s #1 contender.

Lentz (24-5-2) has turned things around after losing back-to-back bouts to lightweights Evan Duham and Marck Bocek, by dropping to 145 and defeating Eiji Mitsuoka, Diego Nunes and Hacran Dias in consecutive fights. “The Carny” is 7-2, with 1 NC, in his last ten scraps.

So, UFC on FOX 9 is really starting to come together, as that’s an interesting bout for several reasons. Mendes needs a win to stay in the short-term, title shot mix, while a victory for Lentz could push him to within striking range of a title fight.

If you missed the news, the upcoming card will be headlined by a lightweight title fight between champion Anthony Pettis and Strikeforce vet Josh Thomson. The event will be hosted by Sacramento’s Sleep Train Arena.

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