Gilbert Melendez Returns May 19th, Hopes for BJ Penn or Anthony Pettis

Written by Tom Ngo
March 12th, 2012

Strikeforce UFC Gilbert Melendez

When Strikeforce makes their return on May 19th, so will lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez (Pictured). According to longtime trainer Cesar Gracie, Melendez does not have an opponent lined up at this time, but they do have a couple of UFC stars in mind.

“@ufc Gil is fighting May 19th. I hope [BJ] Penn or [Anthony] Pettis,” Gracie tweeted Monday morning.

UFC president Dana White has expressed on countless occasions that Zuffa, LLC’s sister organizations will operate as two separate entities, so a crossover scrap is highly unlikely. Some believed Josh Thomson earned next dibs at Melendez’s strap after posting a unanimous decision victory over K.J. Noons earlier this month, but the champ recently told MiddleEasy that a trilogy with “The Punk” wasn’t scheduled on his Outlook calendar.

“There’s no way [Thomson’s] gonna get good enough in 10-weeks time,” Melendez stated. “I’m not scared at all. But I don’t think it’ll be him, either. We’ll see what happens. I don’t think anyone’s gonna be ready [for me on May 19th], they can try.

“I can’t tell you [who] yet, it’ll be good.”

“El Niño” has rattled off six straight wins and bumped his record to 20-2 following December’s contest. Most believe he is the planet’s top 155-pounder not competing in the UFC.

Strikeforce’s show is expected to take place inside HP Pavilion in San Jose, California. However, if the San Jose Sharks advance in the NHL Playoffs, Strikeforce will be taking their talents down the I-5 to one of Southern Cali’s larger venues.

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