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Gilbert Melendez returning in May, camp wants B.J. Penn or Anthony Pettis

Cesar Gracie knows a lot about MMA, apparently including when Strikeforce lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez will fight next. One of Melendez’s core coaches, Gracie revealed the date of the 29-year old’s next fight.

“Gil is fighting May 19,” the BJJ wizard wrote on Twitter, adding two names he’s crossing his fingers for though neither actually happens to be signed to the organization’s roster. “I hope (B.J.) Penn or (Anthony) Pettis.”

The date lines up with the final of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix between Josh Barnett and Daniel Cormier, rumored for San Jose, with Nate Marquardt also expected to debut at the summer event.

UFC President Dana White has been stated repeatedly the 20-2 Melendez was not likely to join the UFC anytime soon.  As such, Melendez may be hoping for a big name like Penn or even Pettis to help raise his stock in the division. Penn, a former double-divisional champion, has stuck to his retirement since losing to Nick Diaz last October while Pettis has become the odd man out at 155 in the UFC with champion Benson Henderon taking on Frankie Edgar in a rematch and Nate Diaz-Jim Miller fighting for top contendership in May.