Former UFC featherweight title challenger, Chad ‘Money’ Mendes has inked a multi-fight deal to compete in bare knuckle boxing for the first time in his career, linking up with the David Feldman-led outfit, Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship.
Veteran wrestler, Mendes last competed professionally opposite current undisputed UFC featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 232 in December of 2018, suffering a second round knockout loss.
Following the defeat, the 36-year-old announced his retirement from professional mixed martial arts having returned from a USADA suspension and a two-and-a-half-year stay away from the Octagon in July of that year where he made his comeback with a first round knockout win over now-Bellator lightweight, Myles Jury. The win earned Mendes Performance of the Night honours.
Appearing on UFC colour commentator, Joe Rogan’s podcast this Wednesday afternoon, The Joe Rogan Experience, the Californian confirmed he had penned a multi-fight deal to compete under the BKFC banner.
“I just signed a big contract — I’m coming back to fighting,” Mendes said. “But I’m not coming back to MMA. … I’m coming back to boxing. I want to try something different. I think we’re going to throw some bare-knuckle in there, bro — just mix it up and get real crazy. This is something that’s kind of been in the works for probably a year now.” (H/T MMA Junkie)
While an opponent for Mendes’ promotional debut has yet to be confirmed, the veteran confirmed to Rogan that he would compete at the lightweight limit having spent the entirety of his MMA career at the featherweight limit. And plans to make his debut at an event on October 22nd. in Chandler, Arizona.
Per the above-mentioned report from MMA Junkie, the UFC elected to release Mendes from his deal despite retaining a number of fights in order to allow him to negotiate a deal with BKFC — which in turn was described by one source as the “most lucrative” of his career in combat sports.
Boasting a professional mixed martial arts record of 18-5 from 23 professional walks, Mendes has challenged twice for undisputed gold in the UFC against Jose Aldo on both occasions, as well as an interim title bout which he lost against former two-weight champion, Conor McGregor at UFC 189 back in July of 2019.
Scoring an eye-catching eight knockout wins across his career, Mendes has picked up triumphs against the likes of Erik Koch, Cub Swanson, Rani Yahya, Cody MacKenzie, Darren Elkins, Clay Guida, Nik Lentz, one-time title challenger, Ricardo Lamas, and in his last win, stopped the aforenoted, Jury.