No date has been set, but MMA fans are in for a treat at some point this fall thanks to recent confirmation from UFC lightweight Gilbert Melendez regarding a future fight with Ultimate Fighter winner Diego Sanchez. Both men are in the hunt for top contendership and could make a major move up the ladder with a convincing victory come showtime.
Melendez spoke about the match-up in an interview with Bleacher Report, crediting the matchmaking team for an opportunity to shine against a star like Sanchez.
“It feels great to know I’m getting a great fight right away. That wasn’t always the case in the past, and with Diego, I get a big name and great fight. He was a pioneer in this MMA game and it’s neat that the UFC is on top of it. They are a real business. I love Strikeforce, but these guys do their business so well,” said Melendez.
“I’m getting proper notice for a fight and there is no juggling opponents. I feel like the UFC is giving me a lot of respect by doing things this way. I know not every fighter gets that kind of notice, but I appreciate they are letting me know what is coming ahead of time. It’s great to feel that kind of respect from them,” he elaborated. “I have four months notice to prep for Diego. I’ve never had that before. I would get an eight-week notice and a switch of opponents. Or I would get a switch in venues or switch of dates. It’s nice to have that kind of lead in. He’s on my mind and now I can put all of my focus, both mental and physical, into preparing for that fight.”
The 31-year old Melendez is 21-3 with eleven knockouts notched on his record. He shined in defeat in his UFC debut last April, falling via Split Decision to champion Benson Henderson. Sanchez is 24-5 and made his return to the lightweight division last March after a series of scraps at 170 pounds.