Biography and Profile of MMA Fighter Chad Mendes

UFC 179: Aldo v Chad Mendes
Buda Mendes / Getty Images

The bottom line is that if you are able to make it to a college national championship battle in wrestling, you're likely to become a more than solid MMA fighter. Such is the case with Chad Mendes.

Here is his story.

Date of Birth

Chad Edward Mendes was born on May 1, 1985, in Hanford, California.

Training Camp, Fighting Organization, and Weight Class

Mendes trains with Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, California, better known as the home of Urijah Faber. He fights in the featherweight division for the UFC.

Wrestling Background

Mendes began wrestling at age five. He was an upper echelon California high school grappler who finished in the top 10 in the state three times. From there, he went on to wrestle for California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, where he finished his career with an impressive 64-14 record. As a senior, his 30-1 record helped him achieve a number one ranking for most of the season at 141 pounds, only to lose the national title match to Ohio State's Jaggers.

In 2008, Mendes was named the PAC-10 Wrestler of the Year. He also was a two-time All American.

His Hero

On his UFC profile, Mendes notes that his father is his hero, stating that "he has gone through a lot in his life and has really shown me what it means to never quit."

Early MMA Career

Mendes met Urijah Faber of Team Alpha Male in high school and began training with him after college. He defeated Giovanni Encarnacion by rear naked choke on September 26, 2008, for his first professional MMA win. In fact, he won his first five fights before transitioning to the WEC, where he defeated Erik Koch in his debut.

UFC Comes Calling

When the WEC folded into the UFC, Mendes came along for the ride. He defeated Michihiro Omigawa by decision in his UFC debut on February 5, 2011 ( UFC 126).

Rivalry with Jose Aldo

At UFC 142 in January of 2012, Mendes took on longtime featherweight belt holder Jose Aldo in the champ's homeland of Brazil.  He lost the fight by sudden KO due to a knee.  Later at UFC 179 in October 2014, Mendes hurt the champ early but still lost a close decision.  Aldo managed to weather some serious Mendes strikes en-route to the victory.  

Fighting Style

Mendes is known as a fast twitch phenomenon. In other words, his hands are very fast and he moves in and out of range explosively. This helps him, as his reach is not very long. What's more, he is an outstanding wrestler whose shot is very difficult to stop. Taken together, this fighting style leads to a lot of dominant decision victories, as knockout power is not always there.

Some of Chad Mendes's Greatest MMA Victories

  • Mendes defeats Rani Yahya by decision at UFC 133: Another masterful decision victory by Mendes where he used his fast hands, takedowns, and ground control to dominate. This fight led up to a featherweight title shot against Jose Aldo.
  • Mendes defeats Michihiro Omigawa by decision at UFC 126: Anytime a fighter makes their UFC debut, considering it is the big show in mixed martial arts, it deserves notice. At the time, the very tough and experienced Omigawa was making his UFC debut as well. What we found out from their battle is that Omigawa's takedown defense is much better than perhaps we thought​ and that Mendes's striking was simply way better than his adversary's. In other words, another decision victory for Mendes.
  • Condit defeats Erik Koch by decision at WEC 47: This fight was Mendes's first in the WEC. What's more, he won the fight with a cut over his right eye, putting his toughness on display.
  • Mendes defeats Giovanni Encarnacion by rear naked choke at PFC 10: This September 26, 2008, match up represents his first professional MMA contest. Thus, it deserves mention on this list.