What a difference a day makes.

Recently thought to be making his way to Bellator after a short but bitter contract dispute with the UFC, former Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez has re-signed with the promotion after they chose to exercise their option to match the terms of “El Nino’s” offer.

UFC President Dana White said he was ‘done” dealing with Melendez’ management, but in the end it sounds like “El Nino” came out on top in this one.

According to a report from MMAFighting.com, Melendez’ contract will guarantee that he fights at least 75 percent of his future bouts on pay-per-view, with his pay-per-view income kicking in at a lower buy rate than any other UFC fighter. Melendez will get the points regardless of his position on the PPV card, and now has a deal that will pay him very handsomely regardless of how the PPV card performs at the box office.

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The terms of the deal will supposedly make the well-traveled Melendez one of the highest-paid fighters in mixed martial arts.

It appears that the UFC knew that they couldn’t do without the exciting “El Nino,” who was last seen defeating Diego Sanchez in a “Fight of the Year” candidate at UFC 166.

We didn’t have to wait long to find out just what the UFC plans to do with their newly re-signed prizefighter, as Melendez has been scheduled to coach The Ultimate Fighter 20 opposite UFC lightweight champion Anthony “Showtime” Pettis.

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The coaches will square off in a pivotal 155-pound title fight sometime in late 2014 once “Showtime’s” torn PCL is fully healed. TUF 20 is the first season of the show featuring the inaugural appearance of the 115-pound women’s flyweight division.

So the saga of Melendez’ new contract has finally come to an end, and “El Nino” was rewarded well for playing hardball with the UFC. He tested the waters and was willing to leave, and in turn he’s now booked in the biggest possible fight he could get.

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Can he capitalize on the huge opportunity by dethroning the dynamic yet oft-injured “Showtime”?

Photo: Kyle Terada for USA TODAY Sports