It may sound strange to hear Strikeforce’s lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez refer to himself as a “contender” or plead his case when it comes to receiving a shot at gold. However, with Dana White recently expressing his desire to bring Melendez over as soon as possible it appears “El Nino” could be poised to join fellow former Strikeforce champions Alistair Overeem, Dan Henderson, and Nick Diaz in the UFC.

UFC President Expresses Strong Interest in Inking Melendez Immediately

Melendez addressed the issue on Monday in a conversation with The MMA Hour where he made it clear his mind is on Jorge Masvidal but his heart is set on the Octagon.

"I've been focusing on Masvidal," Melendez commented on his rumored opponent at a December 17 Strikeforce event. "He's the first guy in line. I think he's the #1 contender, as of now, in Strikeforce, and as of now I have to focus on that guy. He's real tough. But it's hard not to get excited when you hear all these rumors."

"The UFC title is the best belt," the 29-year old continued. "I want that belt and I want it as soon as possible”¦I'm definitely impressed by Frankie. He's an amazing fighter. He's great. I honestly feel like I'm the (top) contender and I feel like I'm ready for the title shot now."

The 19-2 Californian has won his last five fights including one-sided performances against Mitsuhiro Ishida, Josh Thomson, Tatsuya Kawajiri, and Shinya Aoki. He has won eleven of his total bouts by way of TKO while never having been finished himself.


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