"I don't want to be famous. I want to be respected and I want to make money. I had the biggest chip on my shoulder for awhile. I wasn't performing that well. It was good money, but I was bitter at the world that you couldn't be recognized as a real fighter unless you fought in the UFC. You put so much f*cking work in and beat good people and travel the world and all kinds of stuff, but it sucked that you still got considered a minor-league fighter all the time."
UFC lightweight Gilbert Melendez’s road to the Octagon was a long one but, after years of ruling Strikeforce’s 155-pound talent pool, “El Nino” finally made his debut last April. Though Melendez failed in his bid to beat then-champion Benson Henderson, he looked sharp in the scrap and is poised to impress once again this weekend at UFC 166 when he faces Diego Sanchez. Melendez recently spoke to reporters about the rumble in terms of his mindset entering the match-up, how he can impact his career with a victory, and why Sanchez is an opponent he’s always wanted to face. Fortunately, MMAFighting was on hand and able to capture the conversation. (Photos by USA Today Sports Images)
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