Gilbert Melendez Fights Benson Henderson for More Than the UFC Title


  • Share on Tumblr
  • submit to reddit

GilbertMelendez6X8J0102UFC lightweight contender Gilbert Melendez says there’s no added pressure to win heading into his UFC on Fox 7 title bout with champion Benson Henderson, but the stakes are high and what’s on the line is more than simply a title.

Melendez, the last Strikeforce lightweight titleholder, has lobbied for years to get a shot in the UFC.  Regarded as the best lightweight to have never fought in the Octagon, Melendez has spent the last seven years in Strikeforce.  Contractual champion clauses kept him from making his long awaited debut, until now.

Melendez has been ranked in the top five for years.  In 2006, Melendez first cracked the top five, when Henderson had only one professional fight.  The April 20 title fight is a champion vs. champion match-up, but Melendez feels like the challenger.

“I feel like I am somewhat of a challenger and walking into new territory.  It’s a whole new organization, different type stage.  Ben Henderson is the champ in the UFC,” said Melendez on a media conference call promoting the event.

Henderson, in his last fight, defeated Melendez’s friend and long-time training partner Nate Diaz by unanimous decision.  Melendez cornered Diaz that night, and has been itching for the opportunity to avenge his teammate’s loss.

“When your buddies fight you can’t help but get a little emotional out there and passionate.  You’re bummed for your friend when he fights and if you can back your friend up you will.  At that point I was like give me the opportunity to avenge my friend.  Give me the opportunity to fight this dude.  I can do it,” he said.  “That was kind of going through my head, and I was just licking my chops hoping to get the opportunity, and I did.”

Melendez trains out of the Cesar Gracie camp, as well as his own gym, El Nino Sports, and the Fairtex Gym.  Many of his Cesar Gracie training partners have had UFC title fights and all of them have come up short.  A Cesar Gracie fighter has fought for a UFC title on six different occasions, and were defeated all six times.

Given the team’s title fight track record, Melendez would like to be the one to bring home UFC gold.

“I hope to win the title for my team, but I really try not to put too much pressure on myself.  I go out there and fight and fight my fight,” he said.

“I think it’s a great accomplishment for my whole team just to even get title fights.  Not many teams can say that.  Dave Terrell, Gil Castillo, Nick (Diaz), Jake (Shields), and Nate (Diaz) have all had title fights.  That’s great for our team.  If anything, it’s an accomplishment for our team.  But I’d love to be able to bring that title back to the gym and share it with those guys.”

view original article >>

Related News

  • 8 days ago
  • 8 views

Anthony Pettis will defend his UFC lightweight title December 6 against top contender Gilbert Melendez at UFC 181.
The fight will be Pettis' first title defense. For that matter, it's the first bout of any kind for "Showtime" since he won the belt from Benson Henderson last August at UFC 164.
Pettis himself broke the news Monday while a guest on The MMA Hour broadcast with host Ariel Helwani. "December 6 is going to be the date of my next fight; it'll be out here in Vegas," Pettis said. "I got w more

  • 8 days ago
  • 76 views

Anthony Pettis will return to the octagon to defend his UFC lightweight title against Gilbert Melendez in December.
Anthony Pettis will return to UFC action this December on what could be a massive card.
The UFC lightweight champion announced on yesterday's edition of The MMA Hour that he will be facing Gilbert Melendez on December 6 in Las Vegas. That event, which appears as though it will be UFC 181, still doesn't have a venue set as of now.
However, the December 6 date is also the event that more

  • 13 days ago
  • 13 views

Wednesday night, Jim Miller stepped into the UFC Octagon opposite fellow lightweight contender Donald Cerrone. However, things did not go the way of Miller in this bout, as he succumbed to a second-round head-kick knockout loss in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
The loss for Miller knocks him out of contention for the time being. He is tough as nails and well-rounded as they come, but he has failed to break through to a title consideration with a performance against a fellow top lightweight.
Where do more

  • 28 days ago
  • 15 views

When a fighter loses a title fight, he usually has to go back to the drawing board, see what went wrong and figure out how to come back stronger.
Some are able to do that very well and get back in title contention quickly. Others, like Frank Mir, don't do so well after a title loss.
With more divisions and fighters now than ever before, there are far more title fights and far more title contenders. Some contenders are ready for a second or maybe even a third shot at the belt. Let's see who they more

  • 28 days ago
  • 40 views

Dana White cleared up the UFC featherweight "title shot" picture, pretty much saying Cub Swanson is going to get it after defeating Jeremy Stephens at UFC Fight Night 44. Don't ask, and you shall receive.
After he defeated Jeremy Stephens in the main event of UFC Fight Night 44 last weekend (Sat., June 28, 2014) in San Antonio, Texas via unanimous decision (highlights), Cub Swanson declared he wouldn't go begging for a title shot during the post-fight press conference.
Luckily for him, he won't more

  • 27 days ago
  • 78 views

An intriguing lightweight matchup has been added to the UFC’s return to Japan, as Takanori Gomi meets Myles Jury.Filed under: News, UFC more

  • 26 days ago
  • 19 views

After failing to wrest the belt from UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, former Olympian Sara McMann will face another champion in her next bout. more

  • 24 days ago
  • 51 views

UFC 175 lived up to the hype with two outstanding title fights as both American Champions successfully defended their titles. UFC 175 was a card of exceeded expectations as both Chris Weidman and Ronda Rousey defended in memorable title fights. It provided an amazing close to a solid night of fights.
One of the key take aways from this card won't be about who won or lost, but simple numbers. We are more than half a year into the UFC's 50+ event year and the number of PPV buys and TV ratings in N more

  • 24 days ago
  • 16 views

Perennial UFC middleweight contender Vitor Belfort feels he's been waiting on the sidelines for too long and is ready for another crack at UFC gold. Following 185-pound champ Chris Weidman's hard-fought win by decision over Lyoto Machida at UFC 175 Saturday night, "The Phenom" was quick to make it known on Twitter that he wants the next shot at "The All-American": Now I want what I deserve, MY TITIE SHOT!!! Don't run away!! No excuses!! Agora eu quero o q eu… http://t.co/wZYj8OBVAT
— Vitor Belfo more