Ben Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez: Fight-Of-The-Year Potential

By Jeremy Green
Benson Henderson UFC
Ron Chenoy-USA Today Sports

One fight that has garnered a lot of attention as of late is a lightweight championship fight between current champ Ben Henderson and Gilbert Melendez. Both fighters have looked exceptional as of late. This is indeed a true champion vs. champion fight that has Fight-Of-The-Year written all over it.

Henderson has been the UFC lightweight champ for some time now, defeating Frankie Edgar twice and Nate Diaz.  In his most recent victory over Diaz, Henderson showed excellent control on the ground and landed some excellent leg kicks. Henderson has now defended his belt twice and will be looking to make it three when he squares off against Melendez.

Melendez has also been dominant at lightweight, but in a different promotion.  He was the Strikeforce lightweight champion for many years until the UFC decided to shut the promotion down after purchasing it. During Melendez’s Strikeforce tenure, he amassed a record of 21-2. He has beat notable fighters such as Josh Thompson, Clay Guida, Shinya Aoki, Jorge Masvidal, and Rodrigo Damm.  Now, Melendez will be looking to become a UFC champion when he faces Henderson.

On paper, this fight should be entertaining from the opening bell. Henderson is a fighter that uses his athleticism in order to control his opponents. His striking is also improving with every fight, making him a truly great well rounded MMA fighter.  Melendez is also a competent wrestler in his own right and has shown to have knockout power in his hands. This was on full display when he faced Damm, where he was able to get a KO in the second round.

This fight will come down to tactics inside the cage and who simply wants it more. It should be one of the most exciting fights of the year, taking place at UFC on Fox 7.

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