Gilbert Melendez: A Fighter Waiting in the Wings

By Ben Leven
Gilbert Melendez-MMA

Benson Henderson surprised many of us last Saturday, when he cut down Nate Diaz with considerable ease. How many more challengers are out there for this man to fight? Henderson has already triumphed over Frankie Edgar, Clay Guida and Jim Miller. So then, who is next or rather, who should be next?

There is a worthy opponent who has been patiently waiting in the wings, waiting to prove his superiority. That man is Gilbert Melendez.

Melendez has been in the game for a long time. Melendez has been the Strikeforce lightweight champ, comfortably, for quite some time. Since his title victory back in 2009, Melendez has since then, defended his title with little effort. Melendez is a champion who needs to push himself further; he needs to prove who the top lightweight in the world is.

There is nothing worse than a champion who still has the urge to prove himself. Melendez has been very patient with this dilemma. With the inevitable downfall of Strikeforce in January, the time for Melendez to really prove himself is now. Melendez recently commented on who his next opponent should be.

“I want to fight Benson Henderson.”

“I think a champion versus champion fight makes absolute sense right now. I think we already know how things are going to work out between Benson Henderson and a lot of other lightweight fighters in the UFC, but I’m that mystery fighter. No one really knows how I’m going to matchup with anyone. I have been around for a long time and have been the top lightweight in the world before Benson or any of these other guys.”

“I think everyone would be really excited for this matchup, and I guarantee it would be a great fight. We can do it in the Octagon or the Strikeforce cage—it doesn’t matter to me. Henderson is the fight I want, and let’s make it happen.”

The iron is hot, it is time to strike. The end of Strikeforce is drawing closer and top fighters, such as Ronda Rousey are being herded into the UFC. It’s only fair, for a veteran, like Melendez to make that career transition as well.

Melendez deserves this opportunity to take on Henderson. It would be an amazing fight as both fighters do share similar qualities.  I think we should get to see who the best lightweight fighter in the world is.

Let’s make this happen.

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