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Gilbert Melendez: “I wish I could’ve pushed it a little bit more.”

Benson Henderson-Gilbert Melendez - UFC on FOX 7As the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20, and UFC lightweight Gilbert Melendez knows the truth of the statement all too well thanks to his hard-fought but ultimately unsuccessful effort against champion Benson Henderson at UFC on FOX 7. Melendez came out strong in the scrap, arguably taking the early frames, but faded as action unfolded and couldn’t do enough in the fifth round to cement a win.

Melendez was asked to reflect on the performance shortly after falling by Split Decision, admitting his decision to put it on cruise control at one point in hopes of conserving energy for the match-up’s final five minutes may have cost him the title.

“No excuses (but) I wish I could’ve pushed it a little bit more,” explained Melendez, saying he still felt he’d done enough to have his hand raised despite slowing down at the midpoint.

“We both walked forward but when I walked forward I think I did bigger attacks. I thought I landed cleaner punches. He hit me but it was all on the forehead. I left him pretty bloody,” said the 31-year old, though “El Nino” didn’t go so far as to ask for a rematch, simply stating, “I’m just happy to be part of the UFC and I’m heartbroken.”

The loss ended a seven-fight winning streak for Melendez and dropped his record to 21-3.

The full interview with Melendez can be seen below:

PHOTO CREDIT – MMAWEEKLY/UFC