Chad Mendes targets huge fight for UFC return 4 years ago

Chad Mendes targets huge fight for UFC return

Chad Mendes is ready to step back inside the UFC's Octagon.

It's been over two years since Chad Mendes has fought in the UFC, but he's already preparing for his comeback.

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“Money” was handed a two-year USADA suspension in June of 2016 stemming from an out-of-competition drug test. He tested positive for the banned substance GHRP-6, a growth-hormone peptide, which he claimed entered his system through a skin cream he was using to treat plaque psoriasis. That suspension will end this month leaving the perpetual featherweight contender free to resume his career.

He explained on Monday's MMA Hour that he would like to return on the UFC 226 card in Las Vegas headlined by the heavyweight title fight between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier. Max Holloway is set to defend his featherweight belt against Brian Ortega in the co-main event. Failing that, Mendes admitted he would like to feature on the UFC Boise Fight Night the following weekend.

The opponent

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Although he has no return opponent yet, Mendes expects one to be announced very soon. His preference would be a title eliminator rematch against Frankie Edgar. 'The Answer' knocked him out in the first round of his last trip to Octagon in December 2015. If the Edgar fight isn't available, Mendes realises he could have a tough time finding a dance partner.

"I honestly feel like any of the guys in the top 10 I match up with great. It kind of sucks now with Team Alpha Male taking over the featherweight division. I think we have four or five guys in the top 15. We've already sat and talked. I told these guys, 'I love you all and I don't want to fight you unless it's for a title, but if it's for a belt, we're going to scrap.' (laughs) I think everyone's on the same page as far as that goes. It just doesn't make any sense to fight if it's not for the belt."

The only fighters he hasn't already fought in the top five (at the time of writing) are Holloway, Ortega and Jeremy Stephens. Holloway and Ortega are obviously booked to fight each other and Lil' Heathen is locked down to fight Jose Aldo. Mendes has already beaten Cub Swanson, Ricardo Lamas and Darren Elkins, the latter has since become his training partner at Team Alpha Male. Josh Emmett trains with him too while Chan Sung Jung is struggling with injury and also has ties with TAM.

That leaves Renato Moicano (12-1-1, 4-1 UFC) as the only other viable option in the top 10. He's coming off a hard-fought unanimous decision win over Calvin Kattar at UFC 223.

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