Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez, throughout his career, has striven to attain one specific goal… to be unequivocally regarded as the top lightweight fighter in the world.
Having decimated nearly everyone in his path for the past two years, and losing only two bouts, both by decision, in his nearly nine-year career, Melendez is poised on the precipice of attaining that goal.
There’s only one thing stopping him, and he knows what that one thing is.
“I’m trying to be the number one lightweight in the world. To MMAWeekly I am and maybe to El Guapo (Bas Rutten) on HDNet I am, but to many others I’m number two, number three, number four, or number five, even,” he told MMAWeekly.com recently. “I really want to make that statement and the only way to do that is to go to the UFC and take the UFC title. Of course, I’d like that opportunity.”
It’s not that Melendez is ready to drop his belt and run. He knows that he’s got work to do under the Strikeforce banner, although the company now finds itself under the same ownership as the UFC. He would, however, relish the opportunity to fight the winner of the third go-around between UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar and top contender Gray Maynard.
Melendez has his own fight on tap, however, as soon as late September.
In this exclusive interview with MMAWeekly.com‘s Damon Martin, Melendez discussed his thoughts on being considered the top lightweight in the world, but also talked about who he believes he will be fighting next, who he thinks will win between Edgar and Maynard, and how he would fare against the winner of that fight.