There was never any doubt about lightweight Gilbert Melendez being one of the top 155ers in Mixed Martial Arts. However, it was impossible to label “El Nino” as being #1 overall based on his affiliation with Strikeforce rather than the UFC where the bulk of the weight-class’ best reside.
Now part of the UFC roster, Melendez has a crack at champion Benson Henderson scheduled for April 20 at UFC on FOX 7 and is ready to capitalize on the opportunity in hopes of proving to the world what he already knows – he’s the division’s top dog.
Melendez had the following to say to the UFC’s website:
“I’ve always wanted to challenge myself against the best. That has never meant fighting in the UFC necessarily, but finding out if I really am the best lightweight in the world. Now I’m going to get that chance to figure out if I am the number one lightweight in the world and I’m banking on doing it.”
“This is what I’ve been waiting for. This is the goal right here. I felt like this moment was inevitable. It’s been a long time but this is exactly what I’ve been training and fighting for my entire career. It all comes down to this one moment and it’s time to zero in and do it.”
“I feel a huge amount of respect coming from the UFC for giving me an immediate title shot. It also goes to show that people really want to see this fight. That also plays a big factor in putting this fight together and I’m really happy fans are coming out and really getting behind me in this. It feels great to get that kind of respect and I’m really happy to be a part of the UFC now.”
PHOTO CREDIT: STRIKEFORCE