With the UFC/WEC merger Chad Mendes is about to embark on the next leg of his pro MMA career. After racking up four straight wins in the WEC, the undefeated featherweight and Team Alpha Male member is getting set to bang against “New Legend” Michihiro Omigawa at UFC 126. Any normal 145 man would be terrified at the proposition of having to compete against Omigawa, but not if you are Mendes. Dude lives within walking distance of some of the best fighters on this planet that weigh about as much as a large Great Dane, and they all love to dance together. With that support system in place, Mendes is looking to head to the top of the UFC featherweight division. Check out this exclusive interview with Form Athletics’ Money Mendes, right here on the website you are currently viewing from your half broken swivvely chair, MiddleEasy.com.
So everyone at Team Alpha Male lives in a giant community? Is that correct? kinda, there is a group of houses over by Faber’s house and its a bunch of houses where it’s all combined and we have another block on the other side of town where I live, Joseph Benavidez lives, TJ Dillashaw…So it’s two separate ones but yeah its definitely a group
Do you think the world is going to end in 2012? If so, do you think you guys at Alpha male are going to band together and organize? (laughs) I sure as hell hope not! But yeah, we will. You know I’m a big hunter…So I got all my ammunition stocked up. I will definitely be down
It’s seems like a good amount of mixed martial artists hunt. If you had a hunting mixed martial artist to look up to would it be Brock or Matt Hughes?
Well I don’t look up to either one of em, I respect them. I’ve been a hunter since I was a little kid
, California isn’t known for hunting, a lot of the fighters that train in the Midwest are more into it, but I get out…(interference on his phone) and hunt black bear. I travel all over California to hunt.
Bow or rifle? Both, I’m a big bow hunter I like archery a lot.
So you have all the weapons, team Alpha male is organized into some sort of Mad Max like community after the apocalypse, are you the leader? Sure we will say that, I know TJ is a hunter too, he is probably the only other one who has ammunition stocked up.
You have been a wrestler your whole life, what advice would you give a young grappler? The best advice I could give is to have fun. Have fun, surround yourself with positive people. That’s how you are successful in the sport. If you are doing it at a young age, it’s really easy to get burned out, so have fun with it. If it’s not something that’s fun anymore then take some time off. I started wrestling when I was five years old and there was a point in my life where I burned out a little so I looked at other sports like track and swimming and water polo so I could get my mind off wrestling. So have fun with it and surround yourself with positivity
You have mentioned in other interviews that for most athletes, wrestling ends at the college level, should motivated wrestlers who want to pursue a career in MMA start putting the work into stand up earlier in their careers? I think training some stand up is beneficial for sure but to try to do two sports and to try to get really good at more than one thing at a time would be really difficult. I would focus more on the wrestling part of it. Being a wrestler, I don’t know if that’s why, but I believe wrestling is one of the best bases in MMA so…Ive spent most of my life growing up wrestling. Training stand up young would be a great idea but don’t split your time trying to be great at both.
Who is the best wrestler in MMA Me!
Good answer. Georges St Pierre wasn’t even a wrestler and he has some of the best wrestling in MMA. The crazy thing is, there are some great wrestlers that, its hard for them to transition freestyle or whatever into MMA. So just because your a good wrestler doesn’t mean you’ll be good in MMA.
What were you doing and where were you when you heard about the WEC/UFC merger? I had just woken up and I had like 3 missed calls from my manager so I called him up and he was all pumped about something, and he was like “have you heard?” and I was like no I just woke up I haven’t heard anything and they told me about the merger.
Did you see it coming? Uh, kinda. They had talked about it for a while, it was always something that was in the back of my mind I didn’t think it would happen so soon that’s for sure.
Are you going to be in the next UFC videogame? I don’t know. I know I took pictures for it but if I’m in it I don’t know officially I don’t know.
You have said before you don’t want just another “boring” match, specifically after the whole WEC 52 front flip, is wrestling in MMA boring or does there need to be judging or rule changes? I definitely think there are rules that need to be a changed like the whole scoring system but, I’m a wrestler and I’m good at keeping people down and controlling them. Had I been a stand up fighter my whole life I would want to be standing and banging you know? But I am a wrestler I take em and grab em, I personally don’t want them to change any rules dealing with that, it wouldn’t be beneficial for me, but I think there should be some changes.
I found it interesting you calling it “boring” because I don’t think I’ve ever heard a wrestler say that. yeah I don’t want to be boring you know? We are in the entertainment business and I want to entertain the fans but like I’ve said, Ive been a wrestler my entire life, that’s just what I’m good at you know? I wish I could incorporate more but, I’m getting better and better each fight. I don’t like hearing people say (my fight) is boring I definitely want it to be exciting so, I’m trying.
Have you been studying up on Omigawa? Yeah I’ve been watching him, I’m watching a lot of stuff on him. He’s a tough guy a featherweight champion. I think he is the perfect opponent for me actually. His fighting style, his stand up isn’t that great he will just come rushing in with punches and he likes to body lock people. He’s a Judo guy so he likes to touch his opponent the entire time and I think that’s perfect for me with my background so I think its perfect. I think he’s gonna rush in and I will take him down easily, hes pretty flat footed hopefully I can just keep him down into my game.
You’re fighting a guy that, at Sengoku 7, got on he microphone and said ‘F*** all of you who thought I was going to lose’. He also deemed himself the most dominate featherweight in Japan by calling himself a ‘new legend’. So if you beat him are you the newer legend? Haha, that’s definitely not very respectful to say to your fans, for me it is what it is and that’s his way of going about things but yeah uh, if I beat him then I’m the new legend.
Is MMA in Japan dying? I think it is slowing down a bit but I don’t know if its necessarily going to die, but I think its slowing down to the point where you are seeing a lot of these guys coming over here. It’s crazy how differently fighters are treated over there compared to here. You go over there and the fans are super quiet between rounds and they are giving applause. Guys like Joseph Benavidez who has been there have told me its so different, so like I said I don’t think its going to completely die but I think its going down a bit.
Who is going to win the Super Bowl? I honestly couldn’t even tell you who is in the Superbowl, Ive never been a person who has followed professional sports…It’s weird being an athlete who doesn’t follow sports.
What is the nerdiest thing you would say you are into? Oh man, ugh. Geez. I don’t really play videogames at all. Um. I’m a pretty boring person all I do is fight and train.
Well there is one other thing that you really like to do and you do it quite a bit on camera…you love dancing The Dougie. There you go that’s probably the nerdiest thing that I do! I’m a dancer!
Explain yourself. Its nothing serious all of us like to goof around, train and dance
So its safe to say the Dougie has been danced a lot more off camera then even on? Yeah it’s safe to say that. The Dougie is the Dougie.
Can you explain the change of your nickname from “Moneyshot” to “Money”? The guys actually gave me (Moneyshot) when I first got here, probably within the first month that I was here. And so I had no stand up and when we were sparring MMA I would always go in and double everybody so that’s why they called me Moneyshot, because of my shot, my take down and also because I am a big hunter stuff like that. So, my first 5 fights I had it, then we got the sponsor Pepsi, and they didn’t really like the dirty meaning behind it.
What are your thoughts on the TUF 13 coaching decision. Brock and JDS? I definitely agree with it, its going to be entertaining. Brock is a big draw you know it will be big. I think people are definitely going to be excited by it.
Should Urijah be a coach? Yeah I think he should and I think he probably will be. I think it will happen in the future.
Have you rolled or sparred with Joe Warren? Yeah! Joe comes down here to train every once and awhile, he hasn’t been here in a few months but I’ve definitely sparred with him, MMA, boxing and ground work.
Who beats up who more? Ha ha, Joe is my buddy, ummm I would say its about even.
We’ve interviewed him before he’s a great guy Hes a crazy son of a gun huh? I love the guy, I’ve known him for awhile through wrestling at Cal Poly, and the guy when you wrestle him, is just talking the entire time and he just starts yelling stuff at ya. Good guy, great guy to train with too.
Do you think he is going to go far in the Olympics? Yeah I really think he can, your seen his fighting style, the guy never gives up he just go go goes. Definitely one of the toughest people I’ve ever met in my entire life.
You’re in California, you’re around it all the time, are there medical benefits to marijuana? You know I hear there are medical benefits, I took a lot of nutrition classes and that was my major in college and we learned a little bit about it and there definitely are some medical benefits to it but I don’t smoke and never have
OK, cool. Next question: Will we ever see another front flip like the one you pulled off at WEC 52? You know what, bet on it. I don’t know when or where but I’m sure something crazy will happen and I will do it.
You have mentioned that you practiced it a bit before WEC 52, have you been practicing with more frequency now? Maybe a few more times, its hard to practice without crushing my teammates face, its something that has to be all or nothing and just scramble out of it if it doesn’t go your way.
How does it feel to be part of the FORM Athletic team? It feels great to be part of the team. Its always great to be able to wear something like FORM inside and outside of the gym and being a part of something Urijah started, I definitely love it.