Strikeforce lightweight king Gilbert Melendez (Pictured) has long been considered the planet’s top 155-pounder not competing inside the Octagon. Well, it appears Melendez will immediately get the opportunity to prove his mettle upon his transfer to the UFC.
Following Thursday’s press conference, UFC president Dana White claimed “El Nino” will likely make his highly-anticipated big league debut in a championship affair. However, MMA’s ultimate shot caller followed up his statement with his infamously vague, “we’ll see.”
“[Melendez will] probably come right in and get a title shot. Again, we’ll see,” White said.
Melendez was slated to defend his Strikeforce crown against Pat Healy this past September and again in January, but he was forced to withdraw from both scraps due to a shoulder injury. Next month’s show is expected to be Strikeforce’s last event, which opened to contractual doors for Melendez to finally make his way to the UFC.
Melendez owns an impressive 21-2 professional record and has rattled off seven consecutive victories. The 30-year-old was last seen posting a split decision win over Josh Thomson in May.
Reigning UFC lightweight champ Benson Henderson is fresh of making his second title defense. “Smooth” smothered Melendez’s Cesar Gracie Jiu Jitsu homie, Nate Diaz, earlier this month to retain his crown.