When Zuffa revealed Strikeforce lightweight king Gilbert Melendez would continue to compete under the embattled organization’s banner rather than bring his talents to the Octagon the question quickly turned to one of contendership. With no clear cut challengers in place the public’s speculation on the situation often involved the possibility of a top level UFC fighter switching over to Strikeforce to give Melendez the “Top 10” opponent he deserves to defend his title against. However, critics of such a scenario argued any 155ers within sniffing distance of the UFC’s divisional championship would likely prefer to remain where they were rather than deal with the dwindling stability of Strikeforce.
In the case of stand-out scrapper Jim Miller, a 20-3 lightweight who headlines tonight’s UFC on FX event, it appears the latter group is onto something. Miller spoke with Five Ounces of Pain during the lead up to this evening’s affair where he offered a frank assessment when asked about his interest in moving over to Strikeforce if it meant an immediate crack at Melendez’s strap.
“Melendez is a great fighter and could come over to the UFC and jump right into the mix without a doubt. I don’t know what’s left for him over there, but I am sure they will find him some quality opponents,” Miller began on the widely respected 155-pounder before talk turned to fighting in Strikeforce.
“Even if the money was comparable I don’t think I would make the move over there,” said Miller. “Once you have been in the UFC you don’t want to go backwards. This is the major leagues of MMA. Nothing against Strikeforce, but the opportunities here are far better. More exposure, more sponsors, bigger crowds and obviously more challenging fights.”
What the future holds for Miller remains to be seen though his present focus is clearly on beating Melvin Guillard tonight in Nashville. Action starts on FX at 9:00 PM EST with prelims coming on Fuel TV a few hours earlier.
It is likely Melendez will eventually face the winner of a scheduled bout between K.J. Noons-Josh Thomson who face off in early March.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC