It looks like fans hoping to one-day see “Top 3” lightweight Gilbert Melendez inside the UFC’s Octagon will be kept waiting until at least 2012, as Strikeforce announced earlier today the organization had reached terms with “El Nino” on a contract extension keeping him under their banner for the foreseeable future. While specifics of the deal were not mentioned it was referred to in an official press release as “multi-year”.
“Strikeforce is my home, they’ve always been like family to me and I’m looking forward to continuing my career with them,” said Melendez of the decision to prolong his partnership with the promotion.
Melendez holds an overall record of 18-2 but been out of action since April due to a suspension resulting from his role in the infamous post-fight brawl at “Strikeforce: Nashville” and a desire to spend time with his newborn daughter.
“There are a lot of great fights out there for me – lots of challenges. I can’t wait to get back into the cage, do my thing and show the world that I’m still at the top of my game,” explained the 28-year old Californian who also made it clear he didn’t have anyone in particular on his mind in terms of a contender to his Strikeforce title.
“It doesn’t matter who I fight. I just want to get back in there and rip.”
Prior to his in-ring hiatus Melendez had won four straight fights including victories over Josh Thomson, Mitsuhiro Ishida, and most recently Shinya Aoki. Additionally, he holds past wins over Tatsuya Kawajiri and Clay Guida as well the notable distinction of never having been finished in his career with both losses being the result of a decision.
PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE