Melendez didn’t exactly look forward to fighting Josh Thomson
for a third time, but after pulling out a split decision to win the
trilogy, he thinks he’ll be more excited for his next Strikeforce
lightweight title defense.
“It’s a little tough getting up for these fights but more tough
getting up for Josh Thomson, a real tough guy and a guy that you
never look forward to fighting and you’d thought you’d moved passed
it,” Melendez told the Sherdog
Radio Network’s “Savage Dog Show.” “I’m just glad that’s over
with. But someone like [Pat] Healy, I think that could be pretty
Healy, who has won four straight, could be Melendez’s next
opponent. There have also been rumors that a challenger from the
UFC could cross over to Strikeforce.
“That would be great, and maybe it will happen,” Melendez said.
“Maybe it will happen. I just can’t be worrying about it too much
or let it get to me too much. I just have to continue to work hard
and do my thing. But it would be really cool if for some reason the
fight gods decided to send someone over for me that gets us real
motivated and makes the fans real excited and gets people
interested in seeing it.”
Melendez is in a tough spot. He’s ranked No. 3 in the world, but
most of the best lightweights are in the UFC. In Strikeforce he
could be left fighting opposition not quite at his level, putting
him in a situation where he gets criticized even after wins.
“As of now I’m just going to have to deal with the criticism,”
Melendez said. “I’m damned if I do, damned if I don’t in my
situation right now. I don’t even want to preach that I’m the
number one fighter in the world anymore. I just want to go do my
thing in Strikeforce, and if somehow that opportunity comes up
where I can prove it and fight some of the top talent, then I’m
definitely up for it. But as of now, I’m going to be doing my thing
here. I’m happy with Strikeforce and I’m happy with Showtime
overall. Just sometimes you want different talent, but I’m happy
At times it has looked as if Melendez would make the jump to the
UFC. For now, though, his home is Strikeforce.
“It’s tough, man, but right now at least I know I’m going to be in
Strikeforce,” he said. “It was a little more tough when you think
you might be going and you don’t know what’s going on. You have
hopes. You have mixed emotions. Now I know I’m in Strikeforce and I
know what I’m dealing with. I’m going to be up for my next fight.
I’m going to be up for it.”
Listen to the full
interview (beginning at 1:25:50).