If you didn’t know before, you certainly know now. The mantra with the talented Cesar Gracie Jiu Jitsu squad has been and forever will be, “Bros before belts.”
With Strikeforce reportedly set to close its doors following their January 12th show, reigning Strikeforce lightweight king Gilbert Melendez (Pictured) finds himself in a sticky predicament. His homie Nate Diaz challenges UFC 155-pound champ Benson Henderson for his belt this Saturday, and what happens in Seattle will directly influence the direction “El Nino” goes.
“Gil’s talking about going to [the 145-pound division] and fighting for a title there,” Diaz revealed during Wednesday’s media workouts. “If [expletive] don’t go too well for [my] fight, the next champion [in this division] is going to be Gilbert Melendez for sure.
“There’s no doubt in my mind. It’s like that, that’s where we stand.”
Boasting a dominant 21-2 professional record, Melendez has long been considered the baddest lightweight not competing in the UFC. Clearly, that is his natural and preferred weight class.
That being said, is it possible, in a top secret place deep down inside, Melendez wouldn’t mind seeing Diaz come up short so he can prove his mettle in the big leagues at the weight he’s accomplished so much in?
At 30 years of age, Melendez has theoretically entered the prime of his career. In addition, traditionally the lighter weight class you compete in, the lighter the paycheck. So the question has to come to mind, if not flat out asked.
Melendez, along with the the rest of the MMA world, will be tuned into FOX this Saturday. Although, Melendez has a much greater interest in the result than the rest of us.