Gilbert Melendez thinks he should have left UFC on FOX 7 with the lightweight strap wrapped around his waist. At the very least, an immediate rematch with reigning UFC champ Benson Henderson would be a decent consolation prize.
Unfortunately for “El Niño,” UFC president Dana White is headed in a different direction. Following Henderson’s highly controversial split decision victory over Melendez, White announced the winner of next month’s UFC 160 scrap between Gray Maynard (pictured) and T.J. Grant will get next dibs at “Smooth’s” throne.
White confirmed the top contender matchup at the conclusion of Saturday’s post-fight press conference.
This is familiar territory for Maynard. He’s competed for the 155-pound crown on two previous occasions. After fighting then-champ Frankie Edgar to a draw at UFC 125, “The Bully” was knocked unconscious in their instant rematch at UFC 136.
Maynard will be seeing his first action since taking a split decision win over Clay Guida last June. He has gone just 1-1-1 over his past three bouts.
Grant, meanwhile, has been quietly making his way up the 155-pound totem pole. The 29-year-old will be riding a four-fight winning streak into the shootout.
UFC 160 takes place May 25th inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.