The Day After Edgar vs. Maynard III: Gilbert Melendez or Jim Miller, but not Anthony PettisPosted on May 8, 2011, 09:03 AM by Anton Gurevich
On May 28th, Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard will square off at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada for the UFC Lightweight title. But the winner of this fight will have no time to rest on laurels. Jim Miller, Anthony Pettis, Ben Henderson, Dennis Siver, Clay Guida, Melvin Guillard and of course the Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez will all be hot on newly crowned Champ's heels, with sights on getting their shot at glory.
From all mentioned above names, there are two fighters who stand out of the rest. That's Gilbert Melendez and Jim Miller. "El Nino" Melendez is the Strikeforce Lightweight Champion, with five consecutive victories over some of the toughest 155'ers on the planet, while Jim Miller is 7-0 inside the Octagon, losing only to the reigning Champion Frankie Edgar and the number one contender Gray Maynard.
UFC originally promised the former WEC Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis a shot against the winner of UFC 125 encounter between Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard, but the fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada ended in a draw. The young gun will now find himself inside the cage against Clay Guida at TUF 13 Finale event.
With all due respect to Anthony Pettis, "Showtime" still has a lot to prove even if he leaves the Octagon victorious against Clay Guida on June 4th. Other than the encounter against Ben Henderson, Pettis' competition in WEC wasn't even remotely close to the one of Melendez in Strikeforce and Miller's in the UFC. "Showtime" had some rough moments against Shane Roller at WEC 50, and definitely has a hole or two in his game.
Showtime Kick was a moment of pure MMA magic, but at some point it distorted the perception of Anthony Pettis' real position in the Lightweight mix. The fact that Anthony Pettis is currently ranked #4 on LowKick.com Community Lightweight Rankings, above Eddie Alvarez and Jim Miller, says it all.
A perfect solution for the UFC would be to promote a #1 Contender bout between Melendez and Miller. "El Nino" has no fights left in Strikeforce (unless you're interested in a trilogy against Josh Thomson), and definitely needs not just a worthy challenge, but someone who will serve as an example. UFC would surely prefer a Unification Bout, but they can't ignore Jim Miller's presence any longer.
According to recent rumors, Jim Miller could challenge Gilbert Melendez for the Strikeforce Lightweight title. In the meantime, UFC could fulfill its promise to Anthony Pettis (if victorious against Guida) and give him a fight against the Edgar-Maynard winner. But again, it's a backwards spelling in terms of rankings and achievements. In my humble opinion, Anthony Pettis is still three fights away (including the one against Guida) from being at the current position of Gilbert Melendez and Jim Miller.
Photo: Gray Maynard, left, fights Jim Miller during UFC 96 at the Nationwide Arena on March 7, 2009 in Columbus, OH. Francis Specker