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Gilbert Melendez: “I have bad intentions, and it is personal.”

Benson-Henderson-vs-Frankie-Edgar - MMAWEEKLYUFC lightweight Gilbert Melendez doesn’t dislike champion Benson Henderson. In fact, he admires the title-holder’s overall abilities and dedication to Mixed Martial Arts. However, that won’t keep “El Nino” from attempting to hurt Henderson early and often when the two collide this Saturday night at UFC on FOX 7.

According to Melendez, any opinions he has of his opponent disappear as soon as the cage door closes and his focus becomes on winning the fight by any means necessary.

“No matter what, there’s heat. I respect Benson. He’s the #1 guy right now. He’s the UFC champ. But come fight day, I’m going to try to kill him,” said Melendez in a recent interview with MMAJunkie. “I have bad intentions, and it is personal. I don’t need to be mad at someone. I’m a professional, and I know how to turn on the switch and turn it on and off when I need to. Some people turn it on a month out. I turn it on right when it’s time.”

“It’s going to be heated. It’s going to be personal. It’s just how I fight – I’m going to try to kill the guy,” he continued. “I don’t need anyone talking crap on me. But let it be known, on fight day, Benson is not my friend. In fact, he’s the enemy that day and I have to destroy him. That’s the mentality I have to have.”

Melendez-Henderson will serve as the main event at this weekend’s show. The 21-2 Melendez will enter the affair on a seven-fight winning streak including triumphs against Josh Thomson, Jorge Masvidal, and Shinya Aoki. Comparably, Henderson is 18-2 with six straight instances of success under his belt and victories over the likes of Jim Miller, Clay Guida, Nate Diaz, and Frankie Edgar.


  • MCM says:

    Why do all the Cesar Gracie guys have to get mad at their opponent to compete against them?

    I think this is gonna be a damn good fight, but I don’t see how Bendo loses it.

  • AlphaOmega says:

    I don’t understand it either, but It’s not just Cesar Gracie guys, Koscheck said the same thing, that he can’t like a guy he’s going to fight.

  • THEGUNNER says:

    it seems like the step up to ufc compitition is to much for nick, shields and now most likely gils gonna be out gunned by a better fighter.

  • Richard Stabone says:

    The Cesar Gracie crew of Gil, Jake, Nate & Nick have a combined UFC record of 20-13 (Gil obviously not yet having competed under the UFC banner), and yet they’ve parlayed that into 5 UFC title fights. So that’s the good news. The bad news is Gil is about to complete the 0-fer.

  • MCM says:

    20-14 and 1 NC. But if you take Nate out of it you’ve got both Nick and Jake as 50/50 UFC fighters.

    Diaz, Shields, Gomi, Cro Cop, Jorge Santiago, Sexyama, McGee, even Wandy all made names as world beaters outside the UFC but just can’t get it together inside the Octagon. I suspect Gilbert and possibly Alvarez will follow the same route. (I might be wrong about Alvarez)

  • Richard Stabone says:

    To be fair to those guys, a lot of them (e.g. Cro Cop) burned thru a good chunk of their peak years fighting outside the UFC. By the time they reach the UFC, age/mileage has been as much of a factor as the level of competition for some of them. (I know this is your favorite topic, MCM.)

    Look at the other pro sports… in the NFL, running backs are generally thought to be done by the time they reach age 30 (and the onfield results usually back that up). Pretty similar in the NBA. For any tennis fans, guys like Sampras & Federer–considered the greatest of their sport–saw a dramatic decline once they reached 30ish. If for whatever reason there were separate pro leagues in these other sports, and upon switching to a different league around age 30 people saw the diminished dominance out of these athletes and started clamoring about a guy being overrated or unable to handle the pressure… while perhaps partially true in a few cases, by & large that assessment would be leaving out the more significant factor.

    So anyway, why would MMA be much different? Obviously age 30 is pretty young on the normal scale, and for some of us weekend warriors we might bench more at 30 or 35 than we did at 25, and that’s pretty neat. But when we’re talking about athletic competition at the highest levels, among the elite of the elite, the combined effects of age and wear & tear these guys put on their body training/competing… it starts catching up pretty quick.

    For whatever it’s worth, Shields was 31 by the time he made his debut, which is also Gil’s current age (about 20 months older than Bendo).

  • MCM says:

    Without going too far off topic, Wandy and Gomi may have been on the decline but everyone else, and I’ll throw Overeem in there, were at the top of their games and had a ton of folks, UFC haters and others, saying they could beat the UFC champs.

    And just to contradict myself. For every Crocop, that was supposed to come in and run through their division, or every Nick Diaz, that was called one of the best P4P fighters in the world, there have been those guys that came into the UFC and delivered. The WEC LW’s, Bigfoot, Renan Barao all came in as top 10’s (or close to it) and earned their spots at the tops of their divisions.

    Maybe Gilbert will be one of those guys. It’s possible, but I don’t think so.

  • Richard Stabone says:

    And look at those guys that came in and succeeded…

    Bendo (debuted at 27)
    Pettis (24)
    Cowboy (27)
    Aldo (24)
    Barao (24)

    If they switch to a different promotion on the other side of 30, it would be a much different story. Faber comes to mind… 6-4 since turning 30.

  • MCM says:

    And Diaz was 27
    And Santiago was 28
    And Lombard was 34
    And Bigfoot was 32

    And none of that illustrates my original point which was that no matter how good a fighter is outside the Octagon, being a UFC fighter and competing in the UFC really IS a step above everything else. And you never know how good a fighter really is until they fight in the UFC.

    Guys like Askren and Aoki may be top 10, but until they fight in the UFC we’ll never really know. And everyone that cracks the top 10 without fighting in the UFC should have an asterisk next to their name, cause there’s no way to tell if they really are that good.

    Example: Nate Diaz is the consensus top fighter at Cesar Gracies, right? He may not have a better record over his past 15 fights than his brother or Jake, but he’s been fighting those fights on the biggest stage against the toughest opponents. One look at Nick and Jakes UFC careers shows how much better Nate has done against similar opposition.

    That was my point about world beaters entering the Octagon.

  • Richard Stabone says:

    I agree with your point – the UFC is the big leagues and guys have to perform on that stage to ultimately prove their worth. But with guys who’ve failed, after having spent the peak of their athletic career fighting elsewhere, the automatic bust label that generally gets thrown around often times ignores the age factor and becomes a pretty ignorant point of view (generally speaking here).

    Lombard is another example of this IMO. Perhaps the higher level of competition was always going to knock him down a couple pegs, but trying to make that jump at 34 rather than, say, 24 is a whole different animal.

  • Richard Stabone says:

    Cung Le another example. He was a beast in his kickboxing days… but people were wriying him off as an overhyped bust, somewhat quieted by his recent resurgence. He’s another guy that makes me wish the explosion of MMA happened sooner to catch him in his prime.

    But I’m off topic & rambling… Hopefully Gil poses a tough challenge for the champ. I’ve got Bendo picking up his 7th decision victory in as many UFC fights (which he seems to get a pass for much more than GSP).


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