Augusto Mendes started off 2017 by defeating fellow bantamweight Frankie Saenz at UFC Fight Night 103.
With the first win of the year behind him, Mendes wants to start fighting some ranked opposition in the UFC.
"I want to fight someone ranked in the top 15,” Mendes said to MMA Fighting. "I was hoping to put on a good performance against Frankie so I could enter the top 15, and then get someone above me. I want to do like Cody, who started the year outside the ranking, fought someone in the ranking, and then another one, and finished the year as champion. I want someone in the ranking to show what I’m capable of."
The win over Saenz was the first Mendes achieved in the UFC. Mendes made his promotional debut on short notice against current bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt, but despite the loss to the champion, Mendes feels he has improved significantly.
"I did a great training camp for this fight with my coaches and teammates,” Mendes said. "For the Cody fight, I only had five days to prepare. I was in the gym, but it’s different than doing a whole camp focused on you and your opponent, studying his game. That gives you confidence. I don’t have the greatest striking technique in the world, but I was confident (against Saenz). My hand was landing and he was rocked, so I knew I could even knock him out there."
The bantamweight star has only seen one of his seven professional MMA fights go the distance, which was at UFC Fight Night 103.