Gilbert Melendez was “hoping for something better” than Josh Thomson as an opponent

Despite an initial flirtation with the idea of taking a different route, UFC President Dana White made it clear a few months back Gilbert Melendez would be sticking with Strikeforce for the immediate future. However, the lightweight champion remained hopeful White might bring the UFC to him if not the other way around, injecting Strikeforce’s solid but not spectacular 155-pound division with some top-level talent.

Names like B.J. Penn and Anthony Pettis were even mentioned as opponents Melendez would love to mix it up with. Instead he got Josh Thomson, a former rival he split a pair of previous bouts with that also happens to be 1-1 in his last two fights including a recent outpointing of K.J. Noons.

Melendez addressed the situation while serving as a guest on MMAJunkie Radio where the 30-year old’s less-than enthusiastic attitude was evident.

“I was hoping for something better, for some top talent, and it didn’t work out,” admitted the genuinely disappointed Melendez, adding he wanted, “Something to raise my stock.”

“You want to be the #1 guy, and right now, it seems like it’s put on hold for a minute,” he continued, trying to stay positive throughout the process.

“I’ve just got to have fun, do what I do, and stay focused on kicking butt.”

Just because he may not seem motivated to match up with Thomson doesn’t mean he won’t be ready, labeling his upcoming adversary as “tough”, but clearly Melendez is not necessarily satisfied with his career’s direction. “El Nino” holds an overall record of 20-2 with six straight wins including those over Thomson, Jorge Masvidal, Tatsuya Kawajiri, and Shinya Aoki.

Thomson and Melendez face off on May 19 at Strikeforce: Grand Prix Final.

PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE

18 COMMENTS
  • Rece Rock says:

    Well Gilbert you raised your financial stock by signing on the dotted line so if your second guessing yourself because your LW ranking is in purgatory then Guess who you can blame.

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  • MCM says:

    true dat, Rece.
    If he doesn’t like it, he can always pop positive for a banned substance, get released from his SF contract, serve his 6 month suspension (which isn’t much considering how often he fight anyway), and then get signed by the UFC.
    It’s not like he doesn’t have a choice.

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  • What he SHOULD do is get ready for the Punk and run him over then beg for his contract to get bought out by the UFC…..so in essence he better stay focused, cuz while its obvious he CAN beat Thomson its also obvious Thomson can beat him.

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  • Dr.Stoppage says:

    Yep that’s it right there.
    Unfortunately Melendez is not needed in the UFC riight now, so all he can do is perform well against Thompson and then wait and see.

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  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    Hey guys did he sign the dotted line with the SF that is dead in the water or did he sign with the fastest growing MMA org in the world that had just signed Fedor, Hendo, Overeem, Barnett, Mousasi, Aoki, Kawijari, JZ etc?
    You guys are not dumb and you know that Gilbert signed with a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT organisation than what SF is today. Then there was co-pro with Dream, M1 and other companies. The organisation was growing quickly, he had an option to fight in Japan with Dream and there was talk of a co-pro with Bellator. Now none of that is true. Come on, the company he signed with had options and possibilities now he is forced to stay in a company that he would never have signed with if he had known ZUFFA would buy it and change everything he signed up for. What you are saying is really stupid. Yes he chose to sign with SF but the company he signed with doesnt exist anymore.

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  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    Gilbert can blame ZUFFA and Coker they took away the M1, Dream and Bellator possibilities. They took away his chance to fight in Japan. They took away what little chance he had to fight guys like Kawajiri, Aoki, Alvarez and others. They halted the growth of SF.
    Your logic is like if somebody bought a car and then the makers of the car came, took the tyres off, took the stereo, scratched the paint and told them that they couldnt drive it where that person wanted to its buyers fault for buying the car in the first place.

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  • locoRover says:

    Gotta agree with logic on this one. This is not the same strikeforce Gil signed up with, and he is in the process of watching all the other big names make the move. Why wouldn’t he expect the same, when he’s arguably strikeforces highest ranked fighter.

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  • Lord Faust says:

    Gilbert re-signed with SF long after the Zuffa purchase. His remaining in SF was a requirement for the Showtime deal to go through for renewal.

    Sorry, I don’t buy that story.

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  • MCM says:

    Except that’s not how it was LOGIC. When Gilbert resigned with SF he had already beaten Aoki and owned a win over Kawajiri from 5 years prior. DREAM was getting “Reemed” for not paying it’s fighters (see what I did there) and he was already complaining about there not being anyone left outside of Zuffa for him to fight. That’s why he started calling out Alvarez. Bjorn and Coker never spoke of doing a co-pro, that was all Gilbert and then Eddie got on board. There was never a real chance of that fight happening though.
    SF was a different org, but the writing was on the wall for Team Cesar Gracie (Shields, Diaz, Gilbert) and everyone knew it. To use your car buying analogy, he was looking at buying a BMW (UFC) and a Prius (SF). The Prius was new, shinny and had promise. Now that the brakes have been recalled, he’s not getting the gas millage he hoped for, and he doesn’t have any pickup on the highway, he’s bitching that he didn’t get the BMW.

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  • Lord Faust says:

    Yeah, since the Zuffa purchase SF has gone downhill; they were already racing to the bottom throwing millions at Fedor and serious cash at Hendo. SF had unsustainable payroll; it’s not a stretch to say they still have this problem.

    SF did have a lot of opportunity for fights on the side, and that has dried up post-Zuffa. That said, I don’t think it takes an accounting degree to look at the gate revenues, disclosed payroll, and make a strong prediction that SF would have folded within the year if Zuffa didn’t buy them out.

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  • MCM says:

    Not quite Faust. Gilbert resigned in Feb ’11 and Zuffa bought SF in March ’11. The Showtime stipulation didn’t come into play until Oct, if I remember correctly.
    Point is, there was plenty of time to make a change and plenty of reasons. Gilbert never took them, and that’s on him.

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  • AlphaOmega says:

    Does it also seem to anyone else that since Gilbert was being thought of as joining UFC, till the showtime stipulation, he’s become extra cocky? He never really seemed that cocky to me so I always respected him almost as much as Shields for being the least cocky in Cesar Gracie, but now he seems worse.

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  • Lord Faust says:

    MCM – thanks for clearing that up, I was sketchy on the timeline.

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  • Rece Rock says:

    Didn’t we go through all this before?

    SF was well aware that the San Jose financial partners were taking there $ and allocating it into another venture… SF was well aware they were going to either sell or partner up… Gilbert signed during all this grey area and the following month they were bought by Zuffa but like MCM said the writing was on the wall before Gilberts pen hit the paper… Him and Cesar Gracie knew change was a comin’ maybe they just thought it was going to be a different kinda change, like merging the 2 promotions together and getting into UFC through the back door kinda change… either way it’s nobodies problem but Gilberts… LW is stacked, I’d love to see him over there but it’s really not going to make that much of an impact in my opinon just one more great fighter hanging around the top 5.

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  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    Oh my god! Honestly its pathetic.
    If you dont think SF has gone down hill since the ZUFFA purchase you are beyond help and live in denial for 1.
    MCM I know who he had beaten but at that point fighters such as Aoki, Kawijiri, Melendez etc were all able to compete. The ZUFFA purchase now means that ALL co pro has ceased and many fighters can not fight in SF and Melendez cant fight out of it. Melendez signed with a different organisation. You guys really need to stop always, always, always, YAWN SO PREDICTABLE, always seeing things through UFC tinted glasses. No matter what the UFC does, no matter how it screws fighters over, no matter what, you guys see as if you were Dana White himself. Here is the thing, Dana has motivation and doesnt actually believe his own shit. Point is Melendez obviously wouldnt have signed with the shell that SF is now but he signed with a highly profitable organisation that was growing faster than any other in the world. Top fighters were choosing it over the UFC. Now ZUFFA bought it, which nobody saw coming and they have killed all the reasons he signed. So you blame Melendez for it. Why? Becuz you are so UFC slanted its crazy. Its like you hold grudges against fighters that didnt join ZUFFA. You say things like “Fedor shouldnt be in the UFC now”. WTF is wrong with you guys? ZUFFA screws fighters over daily and Fedor is far better than dozens og cans the UFC has on its roster.

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  • Lord Faust says:

    What is there to see?

    The Japanese MMA scene is dying. Fighters have been bitching a long time about not getting paid and promotions are folding. M-1 is a joke too, and they’ll be folding in a year.

    And, of course… You once again chime in as the answer to the question about Fedor no one asked.

    The only thing predictable about these discussions with you is that you are consistently wrong.

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  • MCM says:

    We’re pathetic and have biased glasses on!? You really need to change your handle.
    Yes, SF is a different org than it was when he signed. But only the people that shut their eyes, plugged their ears, and screamed La, La, La, didn’t see SF’s fall coming. 70% of the LW top ten was in the UFC when GILBERT, not Dana, renewed with SF. The only top fighters outside were Gilbert himself, Alvarez and Aoki.
    And if you had known who he’d beaten, you wouldn’t have brought up Aoki. Cause he had smashed Aoki 10 months prior to resigning! It was his last fight on his contract. Why the hell would you argue that getting a chance to fight a guy he just beat is a reason for staying? (I see you didn’t argue the Alvarez fight. Probably cause you know I’m right about that too.)
    As for seeing everything through the UFC tinted glasses, guess what the UFC has to do with Gilberts situation…..NOTHING! Melendez is not a UFC fighter. The only people bringing the UFC into this (aside from you) is Gilbert himself cause he wants Dana to send over some fighters from the UFC. Dana has said he wants nothing to do with SF, but because Gilbert doesn’t want to fight Josh, Dana has to come up with a new contract to transfer one of his fighters over to SF? On what planet does that make sense? Why don’t you quite drinking the Hater-aid and realize that Dana is just a man and not the great Satan, and that sometimes fighters can f*ck things up all by themselves.
    And if you still don’t think anyone thought this was a bad idea, go back and read the articles on Melendez resigning and you’ll see that almost everyone (that didn’t have blind hatred of Dana White) thought it was stupid he didn’t sign with the UFC.

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  • AlphaOmega says:

    Invisible thumbs up to Lord Faust and MCM.

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