Ngannou (17-3 MMA, 12-2 UFC), who’s power is second to none in MMA, has scored 12 knockouts in his MMA career, including a title-winning finish of Stipe Miocic and knocking him unconscious at UFC 260.
With Ngannou currently having issues negotiating his contract with the UFC, Bare Knuckle FC president David Feldman said he plans on making a serious play for Ngannou if he becomes available. But Mendes, who made his own transition from MMA to bare-knuckle, believes Ngannou competing in BKFC would be basically life threatening for his opponents.
“I tell you what, I would not want to be anywhere near that dude bare-knuckle,” Mendes said in an interview with Full Mount. “Could you imagine that dude hitting you in the face bare-knuckle? He’s gonna kill somebody.”
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Mendes, who is known for packing a heavy punch himself as a featherweight, made his successful bare-knuckle debut when he scored a TKO stoppage of Joshua Alvarez last month at BKFC: KnuckleMania 2.
A decorated collegiate wrestler growing up, Mendes admits that competing in bare-knuckle has given him a lot less to worry about when preparing for a fight.
“Outside of the knuckles being sharp and that part of it being brutal, in my opinion, it’s easier than MMA,” Mendes said. “Obviously I haven’t been in a war in a bare-knuckle fight, so I don’t know what that really feels like, but it’s only five 2-minute rounds. It’s just boxing. You don’t have to worry about kicks, knees, elbows, grappling, and the money is really good.”
The money appears to be so good that Mendes claimed that what he made for his BKFC debut was more than Ngannou’s disclosed $600,000 purse for his first title defense against Ciryl Gane at UFC 270, which turned some heads.