Mini Mendes Retires
Featured Image Credit: The Mac Life
Today, it was announced that Chad “Money/Mini” Mendes retired officially. As a Conor McGregor fan, Mendes holds a short, but very memorable moment in the Conor McGregor story.
Mendes was a perennial contender at 145 lbs. in the UFC. He fought for a belt three times in the promotion, two undisputed shots against Jose Aldo and then the meeting with Mr. McGregor (more on that shortly). He is retiring 18-5 in his career, with all of his losses coming to monsters, both past and present, in the division: Jose Aldo twice, Conor McGregor, Frankie Edgar, and most recently Alexander Volkanovski this past December. This time about a year ago, Mendes smashed Myles Jury and was put back in title contention and everybody wondered how he would fare against current Featherweight king Max Holloway. Instead of a title shot, a chance to get that elusive UFC belt, he is finished in December by then-prospect Volkanovski, a guy that is now vying for his own shot. I wish Mendes the best in his future endeavors, and I hope that if he ever decides to come back (like a certain someone that he trains with), he thinks things through VERY carefully and consider what happened the last time he competed.
For a lot of fans, this retirement is of little value. For me, however, as a fan of Conor McGregor, it hit different. This is a guy who fell so Conor could rise, the man who crumbled under the left hand of Conor McGregor in the second round to give Conor the interim belt that set up the eventual Aldo masterpiece. He was a wrestler, a guy who could just take down Conor and beat his face in. He was his kryptonite. I was TERRIFIED of this match-up. I knew he was a stylistic nightmare and a short-notice fight for Conor, but he did not seemed too concerened. He wasn’t even bothered when Mendes landed takedowns in that fight. He wasn’t able to hurt Conor significantly, and it came to bite him in the you-know-what because Conor would of course stuff a second round takedown attempt, leading to the beat down en route to claiming that sweet sweet UFC gold. Of course, with glory comes controversy, and people started to say that Mendes got tired and a full-camp Mendes beats him no problem. Even though Mendes said he was not worried about the short camp prior to the fight. He instantly changed the story after the loss. Conor had a knee injury in the lead-up to this fight and couldn’t even drill wrestling like he should have. In my eyes, it would not have mattered how long Mendes had to prepare: Conor was going to win. That run of his was a thing of destiny, and Chad Mendes was an important part of that journey. It built up the mythic Mystic Mac. For that, I thank you, Chad. I hope you enjoyed red panty night and ride off into the MMA sunset cashing checks and sipping on Proper 12.