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Gilbert Melendez ready for crack at Benson Henderson’s belt

Benson HendersonLightweight Gilbert Melendez may still technically be part of the Strikeforce roster but he, like the rest of the company’s top competitors, is Octagon-bound in 2013. Though a longstanding champion, Melendez is not guaranteed a shot at the UFC title once he joins the organization. However, he definitely wants to get his hands on Benson Henderson’s belt and feels it’s a logical match-up to make considering both are neck-and-neck for the distinction of being the 155-pound pool’s biggest shark.

“Your eyes are always on the guy with the UFC strap. Your eyes were on Frankie Edgar for a long time, and B.J. Penn for a long time, and everyone needs to adapt for the champ, to figure out how to beat them. I think about it all the time with Benson Henderson,” admitted Melendez in an interview with MMAWeekly. “If he wants to be undoubtedly No. 1, I think that would be a good victory for him to prove it or for me to prove otherwise.”

Melendez also added that he was open to facing a different opponent in his UFC debut if the Zuffa brass deems it necessary but feels he’s ready for the challenge right now.

The 21-2 has won seven straight scraps including those against Josh Thomson, Jorge Masvidal, and Shinya Aoki. Meanwhile, Henderson holds an 18-2 mark in his career and come out of the cage with his hand raised in six consecutive clashes including a recent outpointing of Melendez’s friend/teammate Nate Diaz.

PHOTO CREDIT – UFC