Everyone wants to see current Strikeforce lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez in the UFC including top executive Dana White. With the 155-pound division boasting a deep roster of talented fighters, Melendez would be another central point to build around and further solidify the organization as the sport’s elite.
For now, though, Melendez remains in Strikeforce, where he has an upcoming title bout set with Jorge Masvidal in December. That hasn’t kept Melendez from thinking about what the UFC has to offer, especially in terms of a super-fight with champion Frankie Edgar.
“The UFC title is the best belt. I want that belt and I want it as soon as possible,” said Melendez recently on The MMA Hour. “I’m definitely impressed by Frankie. He’s an amazing fighter. He’s great. I honestly feel like I’m the No. 1 contender and I feel like I’m ready for the title shot now.”
Melendez, who trains with the likes of Nate Diaz and Nick Diaz, as well as with Jake Shields, is 19-2 with five straight wins since a loss to Josh Thomson in 2008. He has finished three of his last five opponents.
While White tries to figure out a way to get Melendez out of Strikeforce and into the UFC, Melendez continues to focus his training on Masvidal.
“He’s the first guy in line. I think he’s the No. 1 contender, as of now, in Strikeforce, and as of now I have to focus on that guy,” Melendez said. “He’s real tough. But it’s hard not to get excited when you hear all these rumors.”
PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE/ESTHER LIN