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Chad Mendes returns from retirement, signs multi-fight deal with BKFC

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

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.

Now Mendes is back after inking a deal with BKFC where he will join a roster that includes several ex-UFC fighters including Hector Lombard, Thiago Alves, Paige VanZant and Joey Beltran.

As of now, there’s no word on when Mendes will make his bare-knuckle debut.