Chad Mendes is returning from retirement, but the former UFC title contender won’t be stepping back inside the octagon.
Instead, the veteran featherweight will be competing in bare-knuckle fighting after inking a multi-fight deal with BKFC. Promotion officials confirmed the news to MMA Fighting on Wednesday.
Mendes first mentioned that he signed a “big contract” to return to fighting while appearing on Joe Rogan’s podcast while adding that “I want to try something different. I think we’re going to throw some bareknuckle in there, just mix it up and get real crazy.”
The 36-year-old veteran last fought in 2018 when he suffered a TKO loss to future UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski in a Fight of the Night performance. Afterwards, Mendes announced his decision to retire from competition.
During his time with the UFC, Mendes fought a long list of featherweight contenders while earning wins over names such as Ricardo Lamas, Nik Lentz, Clay Guida and Darren Elkins. He also engaged in a memorable five-round war with Jose Aldo in a featherweight title fight back in 2014.
Mendes had suffered back-to-back losses to Conor McGregor and Frankie Edgar before facing a two-year suspension from the sport following a positive drug test for GHRP-6, which is a growth hormone releasing peptide banned for athletes at all times under the UFC’s anti-doping program.
After returning, Mendes earned a first-round stoppage over Myles Jury before suffering the loss to Volkanovski that led him into retirement.
As of now, there’s no word on when Mendes will make his bare-knuckle debut.