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Dana White bringing Gilbert Melendez to UFC “as soon as possible”

Alistair Overeem, Dan Henderson, and Nick Diaz all abandoned their Strikeforce titles to sign with the UFC and are scheduled for action in the Octagon over the next three months. Now, assuming UFC President Dana White has his way, lightweight Gilbert Melendez will join the group of former Strikeforce champions with the date of his arrival coming sooner than later.

White opened up about the company’s interest in bringing the gold-wearing grappler on board where he made it clear Melendez’s days as Strikeforce champ are numbered (much like the promotion itself it seems).

“We’re going to bring Melendez over ASAP. We’re looking to bring him over now,” White explained to MMAWeekly.

“El Nino” certainly doesn’t appear opposed to the idea, telling the media outlet in a follow-up discussion that he’s currently focused on a December defense against top contender Jorge Masvidal but would “be there in a heartbeat” if asked to join the UFC lightweight division.

Melendez holds an overall record of 19-2 and is widely considered to be one of the “Top 3” 155-pounders in MMA. He is currently on a five-fight winning streak and owns past victories over a number of respected peers including Josh Thomson, Mitsuhiro Ishida, Tatsuya Kawajiri, and Shinya Aoki.


  • MickeyC says:

    RIP Strikeforce! I do not see them lasting much longer than their showtime contract. I think it runs out in Jan or Feb. They listed Reem, Diez, & hendo. I thought Jake Shields was the 1st SF champ to defect. I guess you lose a couple & the world forgets about you.

  • Sykotick says:

    Mickey, Jake shields didn’t abandon his belt and bounce, his fight with Hendo was the last on his contract. After the fight Strikeforce took the belt from him cuz he was talking to the UFC and then he left. Unlike Diaz, Overeem, and Henderson, he didn’t bounce mid contract with the belt, he was given the proverbial boot (basically)

  • MCM says:

    I don’t think that’s true Sykotick. Sheilds was offered a renewal of his contract, but wanted the UFC instead. Hendo’s contract was also up after the Fedor fight.

    Don’t know what’s taking Dana so long to bring Gilbert over. I said he was going to come over as soon as Zuffa announced they purchased SF. I thought they would have snagged him before Overeem or Diaz.

  • fanoftna33 says:

    This is great news for Gilbert but terrible news for Jorge Masvidal, man he put on a clinic on K J ( something Nick Diaz couldnt do in 6 rounds) and earned a title shot but now doesnt get it. I hope the UFC also takes Masvidal if they dont have Gilbert fight him first.

  • Creature says:

    I think Gilbert will be a good addition to the UFC roster, but i dont see him being champ, i think he loses to Maynard and Bendo for sure. and possibly Pettis, Guillard, and Cowboy.

  • SICK….On one hand I feel bad watching Strikeforce bleed…howver I DO think they’ll bring over the better parts of the roster as soon as Strikeforce’s contract with showtime is up which is cool…just sad to see another good org go…at least i dont have to listen to Mauro and Frank Shamrock anymore once that happens.

    But on Gil coming to the ufc (provided he gets by Masvidal…which hey its a crazy sport and masvidal is no joke) as a champion hasnt been so necessary due to no lack of challengers for the LW title AND a lack of challengers for most of the SF champs…Alistair excluded. Seriously who did Diaz, Shields or Hendo have left to fight in Strikeforce? bringing them over might be a bit of a slap in the face to the league, but in terms of interest it there would’ve been none by the fans as current attendance is showing and lost money….it sucks to see SF on life support, but the fights that await the fighters coming over are AWESOME…from King Mo or Feijao vs anyone to KJ Noons vs. Charles Olivera…I can see some great fights in the next year or so coming down the pipe.

  • Angry Mike says:

    It has to be a sad, sick feeling for Scott Coker to watch his org. be disassembled piece by piece. It was never going to be the UFC, but it was an alternative for fighters who weren’t satisfied with or sought after by UFC. I’m sorry to see it go the way of WEC and even Affliction. Flourish or perish, I guess.

  • Rece Rock says:

    Gilbert will do well just not sure if he should get a championship fight right off the bat… I think 1-2 fights then a shot… there’s too many guys in line that have fought tough competition its not fair for them to be overlooked & it’s not like el nino brings viewers/ ratings with him…

  • Angry Mike says:

    Hey! What happened to the “thumbs up/ thumbs down” option?

  • MCM says:

    That’s what I was wondering Angry Mike. I’ve also lost the top10 readers list and every time I click on one of the menu buttons it takes me to some ad site.

  • fanoftna33 says:

    Superdave, at least for Shields he had- Kennedy, Jacare, and Rockhold which all would have been pretty good fights left.

  • stone says:

    I understand why its takin awhile to bring in El Nino… All the top 5 LWs are booked…. But I’m thinking Ben Henderson vs Gilbert Melendez as a co-main event would be a badass fight… Pettis, Gray, Frankie, Guillard, are all booked…. But Ben Hen, coming off that win over Jim Miller sounds like a perfect match up…..

  • MCM says:

    Bendo is fighting Guida on the Fox show in what is supposed to be a #1 contenders match. I’m thinking that if the winner of that fight is less than impressive or Maynard/Edgar III fails to deliver, they may bring Melendez over just to liven up the top of the ladder.
    That’s IF he gets by Masvidal.


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