Some think Gilbert Melendez should be the UFC Lightweight Champion, while others believe that he narrowly lost to titleholder Ben Henderson at UFC on Fox 7. Regardless of your stance, Melendez knows that he has a wall to climb in order to get another shot at his coveted belt. The former longtime Strikeforce kingpin spoke up to Knockout Radio this week to state his next move, wasting no time in looking for a big fight:
“There’s a lot of good guys. Whoever is hot right now. Whoever is the hot dude who is closest to getting that title shot, I’ll take it.”
“If it’s ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, if it’s the loser between (Jose) Aldo and (Anthony) Pettis, if it’s Pat Healy, if it’s Joe Lauzon, Diego Sanchez, who is it? You let me know who will get me quicker to the top, but it would be a good matchup with all these guys. All these people are new faces for me. I just don’t want to fight Josh Thomson or Jorge Masvidal,”
While both Thomson and Masvidal won their UFC debuts at UFC on Fox 7, ‘El Nino’ defeated both of them in Strikeforce. He stated a laundry list of potential contenders that will get him back into the cage with Benson Henderson. The loser of Jose Aldo and Anthony Pettis might get him close, and so would a bout with the gritty Pat Healy. It’s doubtful that beating Cerrone would get him there, as Cerrone truly lacks a win over a top opponent, losing to Nate Diaz and Pettis when presented with the opportunity.
It can be argued that Melendez will need a win over a truly top-ranked lightweight, and the winner of the UFC 160 bout between Gray Maynard and T.J. Grant is said to get the next title shot at Henderson. So, Melendez remains in a bit of limbo in his quest for the 155 lb. strap. What would be his best course of action to prove he’s the best in the world?