Nick Diaz was the first Strikeforce champion after the UFC’s parent company acquired the San Jose, Calif., based promotion to jump ship and make the move to the Octagon. He faces UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre at UFC 137 on Oct. 29 in Las Vegas.
Speculation has centered on Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Dan Henderson possibly following Diaz’s lead.
Don’t count on Gilbert Melendez – Strikeforce’s lightweight titleholder and current No. 1 ranked lightweight in the world – to be the next champion embroiled in trade rumors.
Melendez’s next bout is set, and it will be in defense of his Strikeforce belt. He will face Jorge Masvidal. A date and venue have yet to be set, but the bout will likely be targeted for November or December.
Although the bout had been rumored for some time, MMAFighting.com was the first to confirm that Melendez had finally been contacted to secure his title defense. MMAWeekly.com confirmed the fight with independent sources.
Melendez (15-2) was last seen in the cage in April, when he smashed Japanese stalwart Tatsuya Kawajiri just past the midway point of the opening round of their fight. The victory was his fifth consecutive. His hit list also includes the likes of Shinya Aoki, Josh Thomson, and Mitsuhiro Ishida.
Masvidal (22-6) enters the fight on the heels of back-to-back wins. He most recently defeated KJ Noons in June. He would be on a four-fight streak if not for a controversial decision loss to Paul Daley prior to his Strikeforce debut earlier this year.