Strikeforce isn’t going anywhere and with a new deal in place at Showtime, they are continuing to build and brand their top fighters.
At the front of the line is Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez, who is widely considered one of the top 155-pound fighters in the sport.
Most recently, Melendez beat Jorge Masvidal in a five-round unanimous decision victory to move his winning streak to six with three successful title defenses.
Even before that win, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker had proclaimed that he believed Melendez was the No. 1 lightweight in the sport, and the victory over Masvidal only strengthened his convictions.
“I believe he is the No. 1 lightweight in the world,” said Coker in an interview with MMAWeekly Radio that will air next week.
To justify his belief in Melendez beyond just looking at his record, Coker thinks that Melendez would best the other top lightweights, particularly UFC champion Frankie Edgar.
“Believe me, those other guys, I take nothing away from them. Listen, styles make fights, and I’m really looking at Frankie Edgar and Gilbert, that match-up as to who would win that fight and how that fight would look,” said Coker.
“Ben Henderson, Cowboy Cerrone, all those guys are extremely talented, but like I said styles make fights. I think Gilbert and Frankie would be a great fight, but I think Gilbert would come out on top.”
Edgar currently sits atop the MMAWeekly World MMA Rankings at No. 1 with Melendez just behind him at No. 2.
With the new Strikeforce deal in place and Melendez solidified as a star in that promotion, it’s not likely that he’ll be facing Edgar at any point in the near future.
But the debate will do nothing but continue to promote Melendez as one of the best fighters in the world, and that will surely build his stock in Strikeforce and the sport as a whole.