Strikeforce’s May 19 card, currently rumored for San Jose and expected to feature the Grand Prix final between heavyweights Daniel Cormier-Josh Barnett, will apparently host a title-fight too featuring lightweight king Gilbert Melendez. While nothing official has been announced, Melendez’s trainer Cesar Gracie revealed the likelihood of the bout taking place via Twitter where he also had a few opponents in mind for “El Nino”.
“Gil is fighting May 19,” wrote Gracie on the social networking outlet before adding his interest in Zuffa bringing over someone with UFC ties rather than giving Melendez an opponent currently on Strikeforce’s roster.
Penn, a former lightweight champion himself, has not fought since losing to Gracie-trained Nick Diaz at UFC 137 this past October, opting to retire from MMA after the loss. The Hawaiian has yet to back off his status as a former fighter and is unlikely to return outside of the UFC. Comparably, Pettis is coming off a February knockout over Joe Lauzon and is a former WEC title-holder. While he may be a more realistic choice based on current activity the UFC has previously stood firm in terms of avoiding any transfer of talent over to Strikeforce.
If neither man surfaces as an opponent and Melendez is indeed relegated to one of his promotional peers it will likely be Josh Thomson. Thomson and Melendez have split a pair of previous fights, plus “The Punk” has won his last three bouts under the Strikeforce banner including victories over Gesias Cavalcante, Pat Healy, and most recently KJ Noons.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC