Once considered one of the greatest 145-pound MMA fighters in the world, Chad Mendes has now transitioned to a new area of combat sports.
The former UFC title challenger has signed a multi-fight deal with the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship, following in the footsteps of Paige VanZant, Joe Riggs and Hector Lombard.
The report came by way of ESPN MMA journalist Marc Raimondi, who posted the following statement to his Twitter page:
"Chad Mendes, a former top UFC featherweight, has signed a multi-fight contract with Bare Knuckle FC, promotion officials said. Mendes has not fought in MMA since a loss to Alexander Volkanovski in December 2018."
Chad Mendes' combat sports legacy so far
Chad Mendes initially retired from combat sports in 2018 after suffering a TKO loss to now champion Alexander Volkanovski.
Mendes had what was an incredible career as a mixed martial artist, and may well have been a champion had he not been competing in the same era as Jose Aldo's reign of featherweight dominance.
He defeated a plethora of high-level opposition, including Clay Guida, Ricardo Lamas and Darren Elkins. Whilst he had a base in wrestling, Mendes' boxing was always a hidden tool he had in his back pocket to rely on, should he struggle to impose his ground game.
He showed complete fearlessness by taking on MMA's biggest star at the time, Conor McGregor, in a short notice fight after Jose Aldo was forced to drop out due to injury.
While Chad Mendes was ultimately unsuccessful against McGregor, he put the Irishman in some legitimately dangerous spots.
Chad Mendes' first BKFC opponent has not yet been announced. However, due to his elite background in the UFC, there is a chance we'll see him get matched up with the promotion's current lightweight champion and former UFC fighter Johnny Bedford.
Despite being aged 36, Chad Mendes still appears to be in as elite shape as ever, and certainly has the potential to do great things in this next step in his combat sports career.