Currently riding a three-fight win streak and premiering as on of the consensus top-3 lightweights in the world, Gilbert Melendez had a lot of leverage in picking and choosing where his career could go with some of his recent success.
With dominating victories over the likes of Mitsuhiro Ishada and Josh Thomson, which avenged two of the sole losses on Melendez’ 18-2 record, Gilbert capped off his impressive career so far with a one sided five-round affair of DREAM lightweight champion Shinya Aoki last April.
However, the Cesar Gracie product has remained loyal to the San Jose based organization, and will remain with Strikeforce for the foreseeable future.
Officials today distributed a press release, indicating that the Cali native has re-upped with the promotion for a multi-year deal, though no other specifics were indicated.
Melendez debuted in the organization in 2006, and has competed there since, though he spent a few stints overseas in the PRIDE Fighting Championship. Gilbert became the promotion’s champion in May of that year, with a unanimous decision victory over current UFC contender Clay Guida. After a successful title defense over Gabe Lemley, Gilbert dropped the belt in a one sided decision against friend Josh Thomson.
The 28-year-old stormed back with a knockout win over Sengoku veteran Rodrigo Damm, capturing the promotions interim lightweight title while Thomson was sidelined due to injury. A TKO win over Ishida, avenging the previous loss, helped set up the pivotal rematch against “The Punk” where Melendez defeated Josh in one of the most exciting fights in mixed martial arts history, taking home a well-deserved decision win and thereafter became the undisputed champion.
His last outing in April, the demolition of Japanese submission specialist Shinya Aoki, helped cement Melendez, the proud father of one, as one of the premier lightweights in the sport.
So, MMA peeps, what do you think of Melendez re-upping with the organization? Of course personally speaking, I would have loved to have seen Gilbert take it to the UFC’s lightweight division, but there are still formidable opponents in Strikeforce. Melendez is expected next to face Tatsuya Kawajiri, a perennial top-10 fighter, in defense of his title. Relationship’s with Japanese organization DREAM will have plenty of lightweights to distribute to the Strikeforce 155-pound class. Sound off in the comment section below.