“This is just the beginning”: MenaRD wins second Capcom Cup after intense run
MenaRD won his second Capcom Cup after defeating the dark horse Zhen, giving a shoutout to the FGC as he has continued to grow in the community.
Saul Leonardo "MenaRD" Mena II has just become a two-time Capcom Cup champion. MenaRD was a constant threat throughout Capcom Cup IX, beating all of the best players from around the world to become the Capcom Cup champion and win $120,000.
Throughout the tournament, MenaRD had an almost stoic composure and it looked like nothing could waiver him. He never lost a single game, beating top players like Takamura and EndingWalker twice. He then took down wild card Zhena twice to finally earn the champion title for a second time.
"This is just the beginning. I want this to be a message to the next generation," MenaRD said to Esports.gg. "I won in 2017 and thanks to God I'm here again. I want every kid out there — not just the Dominican Republic — to see that if you really try and do what you like, things can turn out like this. Keep going and never stop."
MenaRD: Capcom Cup part deux
After Mena's emotional victory, he sat down with Esports.gg to open up about his passion for the game and its community. His life has been changed thanks to Street Fighter, from traveling the world to helping young players from the Dominican Republic — and there's more to come.
Esports.gg: How does it feel to win the Capcom Cup again?
MenaRD: It feels amazing. This time, it was all about the things I wanted to accomplish for the community. I felt that getting great results will represent my community in the Dominican Republican and allow me to help more people like I want to.
Why is it so important for you to represent the Dominican Republic?
It's all about where I come from and who I am. The community there basically raised me. Video games really changed my life since I was a kid. It's a very beautiful thing and I want to help spread that message and let people see what it's all about.
When did you realize you were really good at Street Fighter?
It was playing in my house with my brother. As soon as I started taking some games off of him, he kept saying I was so good. It kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger until I was able to travel and when I traveled I did really good. I realized I could do this for a living.
You said after you won that you've been able to travel the world. What are some of the countries you like visiting the most?
I just recently moved to the United States. There are so many beautiful states, cities ,and communities.
Where did you move?
Oh, that's awesome! How do you like it there? That's way different!
I love it but I can't really handle the cold in the winter.
I'm originally from New England and yeah, it's freezing over there right now!
It's insane but it's so beautiful and I'm so grateful for the place I'm at now. And visiting Asian and the Middle East... There's so many beautiful places I've been able to see.
In the heights of the FGC
You did work back in the Dominican Republic, supporting younger kids who want to get into the FGC.
When I won the Capcom Cup in 2017, I started supporting young players over there and I created a team. I funded their travels and expenses. That way they didn't have to pay anything to compete. I also rebuilt their dojo. I wanted to share some of the things I got with people that want to do the same thing. I've had the luck of being able to do that.
How was fighting against Zhen?
It was very intense! He's an amazing player and very unknown. It's scary because he hasn't traveled before. I didn't have any information. I just tried my best. I was confident and it happened that way. He could have won, too. It was all down to very small decisions.
Were there any other memorable matches?
All of them! This Capcom was so great. It was amazing. Every match was intense and very hype.
How do you feel about the future of Street Fighter at the moment with the new game coming out and new tour?
It's very bright. The online in Street Fighter 6 is better so people will be able to play with everyone a lot easier. And the $2 million prize pool for next season will motivate a lot of people and get a lot of eyes that weren't looking this way. The content game... It's changing in the FGC. It's helping to motivate people to play the game.
Are you into the content creation side at all?
I actually haven't been. I will start... [laugh] I have to start.
Why weren't you before?
I wasn't used to being out in public like that and speaking with the people and such. But if I want to reach more people I need to do it and I will.
What will you be doing to prepare for next season?
Starting the new game and adapting to any changes that come. I'll just try to gather a strong community that I can challenge myself with. Now that I moved into Massachusetts, I'll try to develop that scene more.
Keep watch on Esports.gg for more Capcom Cup and esports news.
Editor | Twitter @y05h1eggz
Olivia Richman is a seasoned esports writer and editor who enjoys creating unique content about Smash, Apex Legends, Halo, Rainbow Six Extraction, Call of Duty, and basically every other game! Olivia enjoys the Pokemon TCG, Kirby, and being a persuasive thief in Fallout and Outer Worlds.