Top-tier UFC featherweight Chad “Money” Mendes made his return to the Octagon at UFC Boise, following over two years away from the sport due to a USADA suspension. It took all of two minutes and fifty-two seconds for Mendes to shake off any rust, drop Myles Jury, and then finish him off with ground strikes in the opening round. Following his glorious return to action, Bloody Elbow caught up with Mendes to recap his dominant performance against Jury, to touch on his future fights at the top of the featherweight division, and to discuss his celebrity outdoor adventure service called Finz & Featherz.
The complete interview video can be seen at the top of the page.
- Tell us about your Finz & Featherz hunting business you worked on while you were away from competition:
“We call it a celebrity outdoor adventure service. Basically, what we do is put together like a year-long schedule of hunting and fishing trips all over the world, and then we have about 20 different celebrity pro staff members. We have different UFC fighters, and Bellator fighters, pro baseball, basketball, some football players, actors, we have some PBR riders, pro snowboarders. We have like a big mix of all kinds of different athletes and celebrities. What we do is book clients on these trips, and then we put one or two of these celebrities on the trip with them. So, not only do they get to go on a cool hunting or fishing experience, and get to bring home a bunch of awesome meat, now they get to do it alongside maybe someone they watch on T.V. or someone they look up to in a sport.”
- So, what do you do with all of the meat you acquire?
“I have three chest freezers and two uprights and they are usually stocked pretty full of different meat. There’s only one other guy, Tyler Diamond, that actually hunts on my team, and all the other people basically just bum wild game meat off of me all year long. It’s pretty cool. I enjoy it. I have a bunch of friends that don’t hunt, but love eating wild game because it’s lean, it’s organic, healthy free range stuff. I don’t mind sharing it. I basically stock my freezers full, as much as I can throughout the year, and just live off of it.”
- What’s your preferred method for preparing wild game?
“I’ve been a pro team member of Traeger now for the last couple of years, and just having a Traeger has changed my eating tremendously… The way it cooks things and the flavor it gives stuff is just unbelievable. It’s just so simple and it’s so versatile. There’s so many different things you can do with it. I can bake things. Like you can throw a pie in a cast iron skillet and bake stuff in it. I can barbecue, I can smoke things. I make a lot of jerky. I’ll do like elk jerky. Marinate it overnight and then just put it on there and you can smoke it for however long you want.”
- Returning from 2.5 years away from the sport to become the first man to stop Myles Jury with strikes:
“I needed to feel his length, his speed and everything. Once I felt like, man I can get in on him. I made one explosive move and closed the distance really quick and we kind of collided. I was like, ‘Oh, wow.’”
“I figured his back steps with counter strikes would have been a little bit more on point. Once I felt that, I was like, ‘Oh, it’s game time.’ We worked the combo that I hit him with quite a bit this camp, and I worked it a lot. We just felt that combo was going to be something that worked great against a counter striker, where you fake the right and come over with the left. Man, it worked perfectly.”
- That combo was very similar to what Jose Aldo used to take out Jeremy Stephens, except Aldo went to the body. What did you think of Aldo’s performance out there?
“Man, I thought he looked great. I’m excited to see him get back in the win column. Aldo’s been a tough champion for a long time and he definitely needed this. I like Aldo. We had some beef there for awhile, but after going to war with someone like we did, you have nothing but respect for someone like that. It was great seeing him get that win. Jeremy’s [Stephens] a really tough guy. He’s not going anywhere. He’s definitely going to be one of these top guys in the division for awhile, so it was cool to see that.”
- So, where do you go from here if you had your way? Omitting Brock Lesnar:
“Anyone in the top-5. I’m right there at #6 with Josh [Emmett], #6 or #7 depending where you look. I’m not going to be fighting for another 10 years. That’s not the plan. I want to make a solid title run. At this point in my career, I want to make sure each fight makes sense. I don’t have to fight for money. The business I started, the people I work with, I have the money. It’s not about that, so I don’t need to force anything. I want to make sure every fight makes sense, and every fight is getting me closer to that belt, instead of taking anything backwards.”
“Ultimately, it’s up to the UFC, but I’m going to be smart about each fight from here on out. I’ve taken fights on very short notice in the past and I really, at this point in my career, don’t think that’s something I ever need to do. Like I said, I just want to make sure every fight makes sense. So, if it’s a guy in the top-5 or someone that’s ranked above me, let’s do it.”
- Alexander Volkanovski recently called you out after picking up a decision victory over your teammate Darren Elkins. What are the odds of you and him getting booked?
“In my mind, I feel like I match up with that guy great. I think that would be a fight I win, but ultimately in my opinion, at this point in his career, nothing against him, but I feel like that’s a backwards fight for me. It doesn’t really make sense outside of just trying to get a payday. I know he’s trying to call me out. He’s trying to get this fight, ultimately because he’s trying to get his rankings up. Like I said, other than taking this fight for a payday, it just doesn’t make sense to me. I know the UFC is probably thinking about, and they’ve talked to my managers a little bit about it, and I know he’s still calling me out, but in my mind, like I said, it doesn’t make sense.”
- Something that might be a little tricky, is your Team Alpha Male partner Josh Emmett is also ranked #6 at featherweight. Would you guys only fight for a title, or would you not fight at all, or what’s the deal with that?
“Yeah, man. It’s tough. We have a lot of featherweights that are working their way up. Me and Josh being right there, and teammates, obviously it sucks, but we’ve talked and unless it’s for a belt, it doesn’t make sense for us to fight. There’s so many other matchups that can happen for both of us, outside of us fighting each other. The only thing that’s going to happen, is that if we fight each other without the belt, we’re just knocking one of our chances of fighting for the title off. So, there’s plenty of matchups that can happen without us fighting. Now, if it’s for the belt, we’ve talked, and may the best man win. We still love each other.”
- Willing to sit out until 2019 to wait for the right fight:
“I feel like a win over Frankie [Edgar] would definitely put me right back in line for that title shot. I know he’s got a fight lined up already. I talked about this to my managers already. I don’t mind waiting, if I have to. I’ve waited this long and fought. It’s not the end of the world for me. I want a fight that’s going to put me closer to the belt. So, if that means I have to wait until the beginning of next year, then I’ll do it.”
Be on the lookout for Chad “Money” Mendes in a high-profile featherweight bout, as he hopes to make another run at UFC gold. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for all of your UFC event coverage including interviews, play-by-play, highlights, and more!