UFC lightweight Gilbert Melendez has a ton of interesting options out there considering his newness to the organization’s roster. Prior to debuting last month in a match-up with champion Benson Henderson, “El Nino” spent six years competing under the Strikeforce banner with an occasional stop or two in Japan along the way. As such, the 21-3 Melendez hasn’t faced a ton of top 155ers who have called the UFC home for an extended period of time.
Melendez recently spoke to Knockout Radio/MMAWeekly about his immediate future after having fallen via Split Decision to Henderson, offering up the two characteristics he’s looking for in his next foe – he’s ranked and he isn’t named Josh Thomson or Jorge Masvidal.
“There’s a lot of good guys. Whoever is hot right now. Whoever is the hot dude who is closest to getting that title shot, I’ll take it,” said Melendez. “If it’s Donald Cerrone, if it’s the loser between Jose Aldo and Anthony Pettis, if it’s Pat Healy, if it’s Joe Lauzon, Diego Sanchez…who is it? You let me know who will get me quicker to the top, but it would be a good match-up with all these guys.”
The 31-year old shrugged off Thomson and Masvidal based on having battled them in his final two tilts in Strikeforce. Though Healy was also part of the promotion and was scheduled to face Melendez at one point the two never actually tussled based on some injury issues.
PHOTO CREDIT – MMAWEEKLY
Front-Page Photo Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports