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Gilbert Melendez remains optimistic after recent brush with UFC roster

Strikeforce lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez was unsure what was in store for his fighting future, as rumors of an impending arrival to the UFC hit a fever pitch earlier this year.

UFC president Dana White seemed to be the main voice behind the probability of Melendez being signed by the UFC, so the odds looked bleak as far as “El Nino” ever defending his Strikeforce title again . However, in the ensuing weeks it was revealed that Melendez would be back inside a Strikeforce cage and not the UFC Octagon later this year, as he’s set to face Jorge Masvidal in the main event of a Strikeforce card on December 17 from San Diego, California. It will be his second fight this year with a first round TKO over Tatsuya Kawajiri a few months back.

With all that being said, is Melendez upset about remaining in Strikeforce and not being paired up with UFC 155-pound king Frankie Edgar or any other of the elite lightweights in the UFC? Not a chance.

“Nah, I’m not disappointed at all. The hype was there for a second. I was jazzed. I was hoping,” said Melendez, in a recent interview with MMAFighting. “I’m more popular than ever now…Dana White, the man, said go check Gilbert out and now people are checking me out. So I’m actually grateful on that. I’m an optimistic guy. I look at that like a glass half-full.”

Melendez has put together a 19-2 record, including 11 victories by knockout. He has not lost since 2008 when Josh Thomson defeated him via decision. Melendez has since avenged that loss, along with his only other career defeat to Mitsuhiro Ishida.

As for making the leap to the UFC – which seems inevitable – Melendez is just letting his managers take care of that, saying, “I’m ready for the big stage, I’m ready for all challenges.”

PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE

10 COMMENTS
  • GIKE MOLDBERG says:

    Don’t you worry Gil-you will be competing for that UFC belt in no time-Personally-I think Masvidal-Noons-Thompson and a couple other LW’s I can’t think of at the moment from SF would make for some great matchups in the UFC-That is one division that would benefit greatly from a weekly contested tournament-Maybe a spin-off show on FX just to clear the air a bit and seperate the contenders from the rest-It would make for great t.v.

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  • GIKE MOLDBERG says:

    Oh yeah-no coaches just straight up fights at mid tier locations-not some stale gym facility and have Jon Anik and a different fighter co host every week with him

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  • Rece Rock says:

    This is all irrelevant anyway… Because bendo is going to be champ and defend that title for a while so 155 will still be flooded with talent but they will all be fighting to be the #2 cause Henderson is gonna have it on lock for a while

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  • MCM says:

    “I’m more popular than ever now…Dana White, the man, said go check Gilbert out and now people are checking me out.,,,,”

    And that’s why he’s gonna lose his belt on the 17th. People need to keep their mouths shut about who’s making wave in the LW division.

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  • Creature says:

    “they will all be fighting to be the #2 cause Henderson is gonna have it on lock for a while”

    Until he meets Cerrone again, 3rd times a charm ;)

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  • edub says:

    No WEC fighter will ever have a major title in the UFC (outside of weights below 155lbs). Unless GSP moves out of the 170lb division then Condit has a shot.

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  • Rece Rock says:

    “No WEC fighter will ever have a major title in the UFC (outside of weights below 155lbs). ”

    Your entitled to your opinion… BUT I call B.S. on that.

    “Until he meets Cerrone again, 3rd times a charm ”

    I def. would like to see that trilogy… the 2nd fight wasn’t as great as the first but either way those two guys come to fight.

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  • Dufresne says:

    Maybe a spin-off show on FX just to clear the air a bit and seperate the contenders from the rest-It would make for great t.v.

    I’d love to see that or maybe something like the season of TUF: The Comeback except the fighters aren’t making comebacks. It’d get the guys some name recognition amongst the casual fans and it’d provide some awesome fights. But if they do go that route, I’d be a fan of not having them stuck in the house. I could care less about the bs antics that happen in the house, I just want to watch some fights.

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  • edub says:

    Dufresne- Agreed. That’s something I’ve wanted to see for a long time. Imagine everyone, if you will:

    TUF 15 The title quest.

    170lbs- Rory Macdonald, Tyron Woodley, Charlie Brennamen, Rick Story, Mike Pierce, Diego Sanchez, Siyar Bahadurzada, John Hathaway, loser of Fitch-Hendricks, loser of Koscheck-Condit, Martin Kampman, Jake Ellenberger

    155lbs- Clay Guida, Donald Cerrone, Terry Etim, loser of Pettis-Lauzon, Kj Noons-Billy Evangelista winner, loser of Melendez-Masvidal, Evan Dunham, Winner of Dos Anjos-Tibau, Jeremy Stephens, Loser of Miller-Guillard, Sam Stout, JZ Calvacanti

    2 wild card entrants in the second round from each weight class. Wow, that would so never happen.

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  • MickeyC says:

    The only reasom Gilbert has NOT been moved is cause the Divison is stacked in the UFC. Halving Melendez in there would just make more of a line. They will wait till the spring, and Edgar has defended again and a few other contenders have been cleared out by other fighters.

    How about a reality show to see who comes to the UFC once they fold SF?HAHA

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