During Thursday’s conference call, UFC president Dana White shot down the short-term possibility of Strikeforce lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez (Pictured) transitioning to the Octagon. After posting a lopsided unanimous decision victory over Jorge Masvidal on Saturday night, Melendez took a different approach towards getting a shot at the UFC’s title holder.
“I’m proud to be a part of Strikeforce,” Melendez stated. “Showtime is amazing. But you know what? They need to bring some guys over here to challenge me. I’d like to challenge the champ, whoever it is in the UFC. Come to my hexagon and let’s fight.”
Not that it matters, but UFC champion Frankie Edgar defends his throne against Ben Henderson on February 26th.
Despite the fact Strikeforce and the UFC are both owned by Zuffa, LLC, crossover fights aren’t gonna happen anytime soon. White made it perfectly clear that the two MMA organizations would continue to operate as separate entities.
However, Melendez does have a valid argument in calling for stiffer competition. “El Niño” has now rattled off six straight wins and bumped his record to 20-2 following Saturday’s scrap.
The irony is, the UFC’s lightweight division is by far their most talented. Would the organization dare permanently transfer over some 155-pound talent to Strikeforce? Will the UFC’s little brother look to import lightweight fighters in from overseas? After what Melendez did to Dream champion Shinya Aoki, would it even be worth it?
So many questions, so few answers. I the meantime, Melendez will continue to settle for being dubbed as the best lightweight competing outside of the Octagon.