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CBSSports.com: Melendez wants to fight Calvancanti

My interview with Gilbert Melendez is now available at CBSSports.com. Melendez will be fighting for the first time in ’07 this Saturday at the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills, Calif. He’ll defend the Strikeforce lightweight title against Tetsuji Kato.

I asked Gilbert several questions about his contract status and about the UFC. Right now, he’s bound to Strikeforce in the U.S. but it looks like he can fight outside the promotion in other countries. I asked him about K-1 HERO’s and the first thing he brought up was wanting a chance to fight JZ “Gesias Calvancanti” Calvan:

Q: You mentioned possibly fighting outside of the U.S. and in Japan, would K-1 HERO’s be a possibility?

GM: Definitely, man. After seeing JZ (Gesias Calvancanti) win that (153-pound) tournament I kind of want a piece of him, to tell you the truth. But that’s only because I respect him. I wouldn’t mind going out there, and I’m sure it would be a lot easier if I went out there to fight him in Japan, so it would definitely be something I’d like to do. But of course, I want to be respectful to Strikeforce and work around their schedule and make sure we’re on the same page if that does happen.

Click here to read the entire interview.

5 COMMENTS
  • What’s the incentive for K-1 to book that match? None.

    Melendez is not a marketable (read: household) name currently right now in Japan. He’s already got heat with them over a past contract dispute (the whole ‘signature’ deal), which led to him working in PRIDE.

    There’s zero reason that HEROs would consider booking the match. The casual MMA fan in Japan wouldn’t care a bit. Calvan’s going to be the first true homegrown gaijin talent they’ve produced and they are not going to waste it by booking a tough fight with Melendez.

  • When I refer to Calvan as the first true home-grown gaijin, I’m referring to him in the mold of an ‘ace’ – like a potential Bob Sapp-type figure, not like a Melvin Manhoef-type figure.

  • LR says:

    People thought Ribiero was a tough fight, and it hardly made Calvancanti break a sweat. I think it’d be a great fight, but I agree, K-1 doesn’t have much reason to risk the potential benefits of having Calvancanti fight interorganization talent that he can obviously beat.

  • Jeremy says:

    Nice article Sam, Gilbert is probably my favortie fighter out there not signed with a major organization. I think we will probably see a good battle(maybe more war of words) between EliteXC and UFC on his negotiations.

  • […] he puts his Strikeforce Lightweight title on the line against Tetsuji Kato at the Playboy Mansion. Sam Caplan from CBSSports.com recently caught up with Melendez for a brief Q and A […]

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