The lightweight division is arguably one of the greatest and most competitive divisions in the UFC, which is currently being reigned by Ben Henderson. Henderson is coming off a dominating victory over Nate Diaz, who trains alongside Gilbert Melendez.
It appears Melendez will be next in line to challenge for the title, which was confirmed by Dana White.
White would go on to say, “We’ll see, but we’ll probably bring him in and give him a title shot (Gilbert Melendez).”
Melendez has done a lot in his MMA career under the Strikeforce banner. Since joining this promotion, he has gone 11-1. Only losing to Josh Thomson, who he would later beat, Melendez certainly has made the case for being best lightweight fighter in mixed martial arts.
Ben Henderson will certainly be his sternest test to date, but training with guys like Nate Diaz, Nick Diaz, and Jake Shields on a daily basis certainly prepares him for anything. Melendez is currently 21-2, and a win over Henderson solidifies his status at being the best lightweight in the world.
If Melendez does indeed get the next lightweight title shot, other lightweight fighters in the UFC might feel like they were skipped over. Fighters like Gray Maynard, Anthony Pettis, and still Frankie Edgar all feel like they have what it takes to dethrone Henderson’s belt. It will be interesting to see their reaction to this news that was confirmed by Dana White earlier in the week.
The UFC can’t lose if they book Melendez vs. Henderson because they can promote it as a champion vs. champion bout, so this makes the most sense right now in terms of a time table.