Gilbert Melendez made an unsuccessful UFC debut, dropping a decision loss to Benson Henderson in his attempt to unify the Strikeforce and UFC Lightweight belts. The future was still looking bright for Melendez after the loss, especially given the amount of heart he showed against Bendo.
A lot has changed since that night on April 20th, the main thing being Anthony Pettis stole Henderson’s soul with a neat armbar at UFC 164. The newly crowned champion will not repeat the instant rematch history that we are accustomed to in the LW division, but will instead face Josh Thomson at UFC on Fox 9.
Gilbert Melendez could potentially be back in title contention soon, although his next opponent Diego Sanchez is unranked, he has beaten Takanori Gomi, Martin Kampmann and Paulo Thiago in three of his last four. His 24-5 record is hard earned and anyone who thinks this is a stepping-stone for Gil should watch the Guida fight.
Of course it is never likely to be that simple for Melendez in such a topsy turvy sport, title shots are often handed to the least likely candidates for many unforseeable reasons. Which is why it is essential to be a great, exciting and clean fighter.
Melendez seems to have all of those qualities, although hanging out with the Diaz brothers might get you a bad rep (and bong breath). I would like to see Gil do well in the UFC, he has a lot of talent in the cage and does fly under the radar quite often.
In such a stacked division, it’s going to be hard for anyone to climb to the top. In my opinion, a fight between Melendez and Pettis could be incredible. ‘El Nino’ seems to think so too. Check out this recent interview, via Fighthub, and stay tuned to Lowkick!