Benson Henderson v Nate DiazStrikeforce lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez isn’t one to get dragged down into personal feuds, preferring to make most of his statements inside a ring rather than in front of a microphone. As such, Melendez doesn’t have any real issue with UFC counterpart Benson Henderson.

However, that’s not to say “El Nino” isn’t still hungry to beat Henderson for reasons other than the belt around the 155er’s waist.

“Benson is an amazing fighter, tough guy,” began Melendez in an interview with Middle Easy when asked to assess a potential fight against Henderson, adding how impressed he’d been by the UFC title-holder’s improvement since his WEC days.

While Melendez respects Henderson, his feelings run far deeper for longtime teammate/friend Nate Diaz who came up short against “Bendo” last month at UFC on FOX 5.

“Though Benson did pop him in the eye and did it well, you want to whip the dude’s ass, know what I mean? You want to beat him up. You want to avenge your team, avenge your homey, but much respect to the guy. It’s nothing personal, but you want a piece of it,” explained Melendez of one of the major factors motivating him to take out Henderson if/when they face off in the Octagon.

Melendez is still technically a Strikeforce fighter but is expected to transition to the UFC along with the rest of the failed promotion’s stars. Though a title-shot hasn’t been guaranteed, UFC President Dana White has confirmed Melendez is likely in line to receive one once he officially signs a deal with the company.