Gilbert Melendez - Strikeforce Barnett vs CormierUFC lightweight contender Gilbert Melendez nearly captured the lightweight belt on April 20 at UFC on Fox 7, but came up short, losing a split decision to champion Benson Henderson.

Following the loss, Melendez wants to fight whoever will get him back to a title fight the quickest.

“There’s a lot of good guys.  Whoever is hot right now.  Whoever is the hot dude who is closest to getting that title shot, I’ll take it,” Melendez told MMAWeekly content partner Knockout Radio.

“If it’s ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, if it’s the loser between (Jose) Aldo and (Anthony) Pettis, if it’s Pat Healy, if it’s Joe Lauzon, Diego Sanchez, who is it?  You let me know who will get me quicker to the top, but it would be a good matchup with all these guys,” he said.

While the 31-year-old will fight whatever opponent is put in front of him, he would rather not fight Josh Thomson or Jorge Masvidal again. Like Melendez, Thomson and Masvidal are also recent transfers from Strikeforce.

“All these people are new faces for me.  I just don’t want to fight Josh Thomson or Jorge Masvidal,” said Melendez.

While fighting in the now-defunct Strikeforce organization, Melendez fought Thomson three times.  Thomson defeated Nate Diaz on the UFC on Fox 7 card, solidifying himself as a contender in the UFC’s lightweight division, so another bout between the two could potentially happen.

“I’m sure he wants to fight someone else, too, and so does Jorge,” said Melendez.  “Those guys are going to prove that they’re legit.”

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