Mon. Dec 4th, 2023

Chad Mendes will fight again – only this time it will be with bare knuckles.

The 36-year-old former UFC featherweight title challenger announced Wednesday on “The Joe Rogan Experience” that he has elected to end his retirement in favor of a multi-fight stint with BKFC.

MMA Junkie learned from a person with knowledge of the agreement that the contract is “the most lucrative deal” of Mendes’ career. The person requested anonymity because the terms of the deal were not made public by BKFC. Mendes had UFC fights left on his contract when he retired, but the person said the promotion released him from his deal so he could sign with BKFC.

“I just signed a big contract – I’m coming back to fighting,” Mendes told Rogan. “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 bareknuckle 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.”

Mendes currently is eyeing an October debut for BKFCC, though an opponent has not been secured. Mendes told Rogan the fight will take place Oct. 22 in Chandler, Ariz., at 155 pounds.

A longtime member of Team Alpha Male, Mendes (18-5) fought 14 times for the UFC between 2011 and 2018 following a four-fight stint in the WEC. Mendes fought twice for the UFC’s featherweight title and lost both times to future UFC Hall of Famer Jose Aldo – first in 2012, and then again in 2014 in that year’s MMA Junkie “Fight of the Year” in an epic five-round clash at UFC 179 in Brazil.

Mendes got one more crack at UFC gold when he stepped in on short notice to face future two-division champion Conor McGregor for an interim featherweight title at UFC 189 in 2015, but lost by second-round TKO.

Mendes ran afoul of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in 2016 and was suspended for two years following the detection of banned substance GHRP-6, a growth-hormone releasing hexapeptide.

He returned to the cage in 2018 and picked up a “Performance of the Night” win over Myles Jury in July. In December 2018, he suffered a “Fight of the Night” loss to future UFC champion Alexander Volkanovski. After that, he announced his retirement at 33.

While Mendes has spent most of his post-fighting career developing his guided hunting and fishing company Finz and Featherz, he also recently posted several clips of training footage to social media, teasing his return to competition after nearly three years away.

By senior