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Benson Henderson’s camp hungry for meeting with Gilbert Melendez

Gilbert MelendezWith Strikeforce’s fighters free to explore options in the wake of the company’s demise it didn’t take long for lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez to ink a deal with the UFC, setting him up to make a long-overdue run inside the Octagon. UFC President Dana White has stated Melendez will received an immediate crack at UFC title-holder Benson Henderson’s belt, and, according to his camp, that’s fine by “Bendo”.

Manager Malki Kawa recently confirmed the champ’s interest in facing Melendez, pointing to the pairing not only being logical but one assisting his client’s chances of being confirmed as the clear-cut #1 lightweight in MMA.

“We really like the Gilbert Melendez fight, and I’ll tell you why: Gilbert Melendez has been ranked either No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3 between himself, Frankie Edgar and Benson. Frankie was considered No. 1 in the world, and Benson beat him. Now some people are saying Gilbert might be No. 1 in the world. OK, well Benson would like to beat him, too, and leave no doubt that he is the best 155-pounder in the world,” explained Kawa to MMAJunkie. “Depending on whose poll you look at over the past few years, it’s been those guys in the top three spots, and Benson definitely wants to fight the best guys in the world. He’s already defeated Frankie. Beating Gilbert would prove that Benson is absolutely the best lightweight in MMA.”

No specific date was mentioned in terms of the potential match-up. Though the tilt is likely to take place in the next few months, one bout that won’t be materializing anytime soon, however, involves action against Eddie Alvarez.

“For a guy who’s not even the champion in another organization, it just wouldn’t seem right for him to get a title shot against Benson. Anyway, he’s tied up right now with those contract discussions, so it’s not really something worth discussing,” stated Kawa. “We’re really interested in fighting Gilbert Melendez, and we’ve got a lot of confidence that the UFC will make that fight happen.”

Melendez holds an overall record of 21-2 and is on a seven-fight winning streak. Comparably, Henderson is 18-2 with six straight victories to his credit.


  • Niv says:

    I love it! Now this is the fight I want to see. Melendez has all the tools to be king, now let’s see what he’ll do against Henderson?

    This is going to be a crazy fight, I really can’t say with any certainty who’s going to win, though I have a feeling Melendez may walk away with a new strap.

  • qat says:

    I dont feel as strongly about Melendez and his record as others do and i think he has the luck of timing that no other clear-cut contender is on the map right now, which does make him the guy deserving the shot imho.
    Except for Maynard who only lost a championship fight (which counts less for me than lets say Pettis losing to Guida), it is a little like rock-paper-scissors out there. Kinda intriguing to see it all play out.

  • This is great for a few reasons.
    1) This is one of the last times we have the opportunity for two reigning champs from seperate major organizations facing each other.
    2) Both fighters have the stamina and ability to hang for 5 rounds at full speed.
    3) It puts Ben in a bit of a reverse position. I remember an old topic on this site where we discussed if either Anthony Pettis or Ben Henderson was worthy of a title shot, depending upon who won the final WEC LW title fight. Most people said no, that both guys were facing inferior competition and would fall to mid tier fighters in the octagon. Fast forward just two short years later and Ben is 6-0 in the UFC the lightweight champion and has no clear cut contenders in front of him minus a possibility of Pettis. Gil is about to make his debut with alot of mma pundits holding to the same opionion of the strikeforce guys as they did the WEC guys.

    In the end Im failry sure Ben will beat and even finish Gil. I also feel that most of his competition is inferior. But sylistically this matchup is better for Gil than it was for Nate. Melendez doesnt really on rangy volume boxing and slick BJJ, he’s more like Ben, Solid striking, great wrestling and an insane pace. Who’ll get tired first? Id say Gil, but then again I wasnt sure Ben Pettis and Cerrone could hang in the UFC.


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