Gilbert Melendez: “I Really Truly Believe I’m the No. 1 Fighter in the World”

February 14, 2011

Gilbert Melendez Lands a Punch on Josh Thomson

Now that he has a new contract in place, Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez is ready to get back to the business of fighting, and he’s ready to prove he’s the top 155-pounder in the world.

Melendez hasn’t set foot in the cage in nearly a year following his win over Shinya Aoki last April. Since that time, Melendez welcomed a new baby into the world and recovered from a thumb injury, but now he’s healthy and ready to dominate again.

The first order of business was getting a new deal done with Strikeforce, and now that it’s behind him, he’s ready to fight again.

“There’s a couple of things to weigh out with Strikeforce. Strikeforce is a great organization, and they’ve taken care of me really well,” Melendez told MMAWeekly Radio. “Everyone knows the UFC is the biggest organization out there, branding yourself and getting your name out there, it’s no secret that they’re the best. There wasn’t much to weigh out. These agreements are structured for a champion not easily to walk away, but there was things to debate about with Strikeforce here and there.

“But at the end of the day I came to the conclusion that it was a great deal on the table and they showed how much I mean to the organization. At the end of the day I’m pretty happy with my deal and yes I’m getting taken care of pretty well.”

With a new contract in place, Melendez is a happy man financially and he’s ready to once again prove he’s the best in the world.

He already believes that he’s the top lightweight fighting today, but if he has to knock a few people out to prove it, he’s up to the task.

“I think it’s important for me to dominate now. I really truly believe I’m the No. 1 fighter in the world, and the only way I’m going to get that spot is by dominating,” Melendez said. “I can’t have these draws or get knocked down or almost lose, I need to completely dominate everyone out there. I think I’m ready to do that.

“I’m going to try to make a statement, and that’s how I’m going to do it.”

Melendez didn’t clarify if he meant the statements about draws or almost being finished as thinly veiled jabs at current UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar, who currently occupies the top spot in most ranking systems as the best fighter at 155 pounds, who drew in his last fight against Gray Maynard.

Regardless of what the intentions of the statements were, Melendez is ready to back up anything he says with his actions in the cage and that starts with his next fight.

Melendez doesn’t have an opponent yet, he plans on fighting on the next major Strikeforce show, which will likely land him on the April card.

“I’m ready to go. Give me the next big show, I’m ready to go,” Melendez stated. “I think if things got settled a little earlier with the contract issues I would have been fighting a little bit sooner, but since I got done recently, I’m planning on fighting on the next big show. I’ve been waiting for way too long.”

Rumors have circulated that Dream lightweight Tatsuya Kawajiri may be the next opponent for Melendez. For now it’s wait and see, but look for Strikeforce’s lightweight champion to return to action very soon.