Former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez didn’t go into detail of his new UFC contract, but “El Nino” sounds happy with his decision.
After months of negotiations, Melendez agreed to a deal with Bellator MMA. However, the UFC held matching rights, and did just that, resigning Melendez and giving him both a future UFC lightweight title shot and coaching spot on The Ultimate Fighter 20.
“I got fair market value on it, and I’m pretty happy,” said Melendez, who was a guest analyst on UFC Tonight Wednesday. “Anthony Pettis is an amazing champion. He’s been part of the evolution of the sport.
“But anyone I fight is going to become an enemy. I’m very competitive and he’s the same way.”
Melendez has gone 1-1 in his two UFC fights since coming over from Strikeforce, dropping a title match to then-champion Benson Henderson and defeating Diego Sanchez.
On the upcoming season of TUF, Melendez and Pettis will be coaching female strawweight competitors, who will be battling to become the first UFC 115-pound champion.
“I have two older sisters. My wife fought for Strikeforce and was a champion there,” Melendez said. “I’ve taught women in jiu-jitsu in my gym. They’re a different breed of people for sure. I enjoy it.
“These are the top-10 women in the world and we’re going to crown a champion. I’m really excited about it.”
Front-Page Photo Credit: Andrew Richardson