Most fighters focus on the professional side of competition when preparing to lock horns with an adversary. However, personal feelings occasionally get mixed into things as is the case in this weekend’s title-fight between UFC lightweight champ Benson Henderson and top contender Gilbert Melendez. Though there hasn’t been any trash talk per say, Henderson defeated Melendez’s good friend and longtime training partner – Nate Diaz – last December in fairly one-sided fashion.
Melendez spoke about the matter on a recent conference call with media captured by MMAWeekly where he admitted he was absolutely motivated to avenge Diaz’s stumble…
“When your buddies fight you can’t help but get a little emotional out there and passionate. You’re bummed for your friend when he fights and if you can back your friend up you will. At that point I was like give me the opportunity to avenge my friend. Give me the opportunity to fight this dude. I can do it. That was kind of going through my head, and I was just licking my chops hoping to get the opportunity, and I did.”
“I think it’s a great accomplishment for my whole team just to even get title fights. Not many teams can say that.”
Henderson-Melendez are set to serve as the main event this Saturday night at UFC on FOX 7.
PHOTO CREDIT: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports