Former UFC featherweight title challenger Chad Mendes has recently revealed that he will be returning to the world of combat sports. Rather than pulling on the four-ounce UFC gloves and stepping into the octagon, he will enter the still very much unknown waters of bare-knuckle boxing.
When Chad Mendes was first signed to the UFC, he quickly developed a reputation as an aggressive wrestler with brutal ground and pound. However, as his UFC career progressed, fans saw Mendes begin to add some truly high-level MMA boxing to his arsenal.
In a recent interview with Mike Heck of MMA Fighting, Chad Mendes detailed why he is so suited to boxing and will excel in this new realm of combat sports:
“When I made the transition to MMA, boxing was like my favorite thing, out of everything I got to train. It was like that new thing, I took to it really well. I think being explosive and powerful, and basically my body style, it just worked well for me. I was able to figure out the techniques that worked well for me.”
Chad Mendes on why his UFC career put’s him in good stead to compete in bare knuckle boxing
Just because an athlete has competed in the UFC does not automatically mean that they will be able to be competitive in boxing/bare-knuckle. Ben Askren is a perfect example, in that he went most of his MMA career undefeated, but when he faced the 3-0 YouTuber Jake Paul, he did not make it out of the first round.
Chad Mendes believes his transition to another combat sport will be incredibly different. While Ben Askren completely relied on his wrestling in MMA, Mendes combined his grappling skills with boxing techniques he picked up while training at the prestigious Team Alpha Male. He stated that:
“So wrestling and boxing when I was in the UFC were basically like the heart of my style. It was late in my career that I finally got confident enough to really start throwing my hands and when we got that stuff dialed in I feel like my fight game completely changed. I was going out there and knocking guys out. I had a complete stand up war with Jose Aldo, fight of the year.”
Chad Mendes does not yet have an opponent officially announced. However, he has hinted that he will be competing at lightweight. BKFC, the organization that Chad Mendes has signed for, currently have another former UFC fighter as their lightweight champion in Johnny Bedford. It may be that he will be the man to welcome Mendes into this new chapter of his combat sports career.