Catching Up With Money Mendes

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Yesterday, TapouT sat down with UFC featherweight Chad Mendes to catch up and discuss TUF, the 145lb division and shooting the new TapouT commercial.

What have you been up to since your title fight in January?
I’m going back and forth from Las Vegas for the TUF show helping out Urijah. I’ve just been hitting up some different gyms and getting to work with different coaches and training partners. I also bought a house out in the country and me and a buddy of mine have been working to put a fence around the property.

Some undefeated athletes view their first loss as a blessing in disguise, because it takes off some pressure. Did you experience that at all?
I never really had a whole lot of pressure on myself. This is something that I love so just getting in there and competing is something fun for me. I’ve been competing since I was 5 years old and wrestling throughout college so the competition part of it isn’t nerve racking anymore. It’s just what I do so I don’t feel like there was any stress. If anything I feel like my confidence was boosted a little bit. I know I only got to fight one round, I felt I was winning before I got caught. I was in there with one of the best pound for pound fighters so for me I’m just excited to get back in there.

Give us your prediction for Dustin Poirier vs. The Korean Zombie.
I think Dustin is tough at 145. He moved down from 155 after he lost to one of our guys Danny Castillo. Danny outwrestled him so I think the cut down to 145 he looks great. His stand-up is explosive and we saw in his last fight he has slick submissions too. I think he’s going to walk away with the win and he’s probably a guy that I will be fighting in the future.

If for some reason your friend Urijah Faber can’t take Dominick’s title, would you consider dropping down to 135?
It’s definitely something that I’m capable of doing. I only walk around at around 158 but I wake up in the morning at 153 or 155. For now 145 is my home so I’m definitely going to have a few more fights at featherweight before I think about cutting down. Urijah’s going to go out there and do what he does best and hopefully gets that belt and then we’ll go from there.

How have things been helping out Urijah on TUF?
It’s been cool. It’s the first time I’ve ever done anything like this so it’s all new. Living in Vegas can be tough if your not used to it. Luckily I’ve fought here a couple of times but being here for 3 months straight is tough for anybody. We’ve just been jumping from gym to gym and what’s cool for me is since I’ve only been doing this for 3 and a half years, there’s so much that I’m still learning. So going to all of these new gyms has been great for me just learning new techniques and getting to roll and spar with different people. We (alpha male) have some of the best guys in the world so sometimes it gets tough because we all know each other so well we get in stalemates. Going into other gyms though your able to learn and implement your style more.

Do you see any contestants who you believe can be true contenders?
Everyone on our team is tough but these guys are all so raw and new to the sport. I see some guys with some great potential but at this point I wouldn’t see anyone near contender status just yet. If these guys keep training like they do though, then a couple of the guys have the potential to one day be contenders.

Recently Alistair Overeem’s surprise drug test came back positive for elevated testosterone levels. What are your thoughts on steroids in the sport?
This is a sport where a lot of people make their money. You look at basketball, football or any pro sport, people are going to do it. No matter what the rules are people are going to find ways to go around it. It’s something that guys have to get through their heads and figure out the hard way by getting caught and exposed. It sucks because you have guys like us not doing any of that stuff going up against guys who are doing it and sometimes those guys don’t get caught so it’s definitely an unfair advantage. It sucks for the guys who are doing this legit and make a living out of this the right way. It’s always going to be a battle in any kind of sport. I think the random testing was a great idea because there are guys who figure out how to get it out of their systems in time for a test but when it’s a surprise then you expose them.

How was it filming the new My Fight Matters commercial?
This is cool for me. Any time you get on TV your building the brand and having the public see your face. Ultimately your legend lives through your fans so the bigger the fanbase, the longer you’re able to live in the sport. Getting to shoot that commercial with all of those guys was a great experience for me. I’m relatively new in this sport compared to the guys who were in the commercial with me so it was a fun experience. It’s great watching the commercial with my family and everyone getting excited so for me it’s just been a great experience.

Could you tell us why your fight matters?
The reason why I fight is because it’s something I love. I’ve been doing it my whole life and competing is everything to me. To work my butt off and get my hand raised in the Octagon just knowing that I did everything that it took to win is special. That’s why my fight matters.

Adam Kronengold

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