MMA Record: 17-4
UFC Record: 8-4
Notable Wins: Ricardo Lamas, Clay Guida, Darren Elkins
Notable Losses: Jose Aldo, Conor McGregor, Frankie Edgar
Last Fight: KO loss to Frankie Edgar
Fighter Profile: A long-time featherweight title contender, Mendes has fallen on hard times as of late. He’s lost three of his lat fought fights and was brutally knocked out in his last two outings against McGregor and Edgar. He’s also coming off of a long layoff, having not fought since 2015 due to a USADA suspension. But when he was healthy and fighting, Mendes was amongst the top fighters in the division. He’s a powerful wrestler with huge knockout power and the cardio to go five strong rounds. His chin has been one of his weaknesses but otherwise he’s an excellent fighter and if he can return strongly, the featherweight division will have one more contender in a stacked weight class.
MMA Record: 17-2
UFC Record: 8-2
Notable Wins: Michael Johnson, Takanori Gomi, Diego Sanchez
Notable Losses: Charles Oliveira, Donald Cerrone
Last Fight: Decision win over Rick Glenn
Fighter Profile: A long-time lightweight contender, Jury moved down to the featherweight divison in 2015 and so far the move has paid off well with a 2-1 record including a two-fight win streak at present. Jury is a very well-rounded fighter with good striking, good submissions and underrated wrestling. At times he’s shown incredible knockout power as well. His biggest flaw has been his ground game as he lost to Cerrone by being taken down and to Oliviera by getting tapped out. But overall he’s a very solid fighter and a bit of a darkhorse contender in the stacked UFC featherweight division.
Fight Breakdown: The layoff to Mendes does concern me but overall I just feel like he’s the better fighter in this matchup. Don’t get me wrong, Jury is solid as well, but Mendes is far more proven. He has fought the best of the best at 145lbs and has only lost to the truly elite featherweights, having defeated everyone else. Mendes should have the wrestling advantage in this fight and he also should have the edge in striking and knockout power. I will say that Jury probably has the better chin and Mendes’ knockout losses are a bit of a worry, but the long layoff should also help him a bit here as he’s gotten lots of time to recover from those losses. I’m not sure if Mendes ever gets back to the level of title contender just because the division has improved so much since he’s gone, but I do think he still has a few good performances left in him inside the Octagon. I think Mendes should be able to use his wrestling to dictate where this fight takes place, and although I believe Jury will give him a difficult fight, I think Mendes ultimately will do enough on the ground and on the feet in order to win a hard-fought decision.
Prediction: Chad Mendes via decision