UFC Lightweight champion Benson Henderson has had a busy couple of weeks recently. He was named Fighter of the Year just last week. He also signed a new eight-fight contract with the promotion after an uproar over free agent Lightweight Eddie Alvarez’s contract terms became widely known. The contract has a ton of potential for the star fighter who is still looking for his first UFC finish.
With that said, Henderson and his team know that there are some awesome fights looming at 155 for the champ. His manager Malki Kawa recently spoke to MMAJunkie and clarified just who they are looking at in the very near future, a fight that is most likely set to take place at UFC on Fox 7:
"We really like the Gilbert Melendez fight, and I'll tell you why: Gilbert Melendez has been ranked either No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3 between himself, Frankie Edgar and Benson,"
"Frankie was considered No. 1 in the world, and Benson beat him. Now some people are saying Gilbert might be No. 1 in the world. OK, well Benson would like to beat him, too, and leave no doubt that he is the best 155-pounder in the world.”
There is no doubt that a bout with the reigning Strikeforce 155 lb. champion would be one for the ages. Melendez himself has been injured and needs a big win in a big fight to solidify his position as one of the top Lightweights in the world.
People may have doubted Henderson towards the end of 2012 due to his razor thin wins over Edgar, but his beating of Nate Diaz squashed most of those beliefs. Kawa continued on about this and the looming bout with Melendez:
"After the Nate Diaz fight, I think he's getting the respect he deserves. He beat up a guy that was beating everybody up – a guy that brings it every time and had never been dominated the way he was dominated."
"We're really interested in fighting Gilbert Melendez, and we've got a lot of confidence that the UFC will make that fight happen."
So the outcry over Eddie Alvarez’s contract offer has come and gone, and now Bendo and his camp are back to looking at fighting the best in the world. It would be a statement fight for both fighters who are at the top of their game. It’s tough to say where Melendez is at right now, how badly he is hurt, and how his training is going. But Henderson is top flight and in shape no doubt.
Just now, MMA Fighting has reported that this bout, while still facing some roadblocks, is being targeted for UFC on Fox 7 on April 20th. The event, coming live from the HP Pavilion in Melendez''s backyard of San Jose, CA, should be absolutely electric. Who will win this epic clash of champions?