Gilbert Melendez is no longer the big fish in the small pond.

Melendez checked in at 154 pounds for his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut, as he challenges Benson Henderson (155) for his lightweight crown in the UFC on Fox 7 main event on Saturday at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. The six other fighters ticketed for the main draw, including heavyweight co-headliners Frank Mir (257) and Daniel Cormier (235), also met their contracted weight requirements without incident at Friday’s official weigh-in.

Sherdog Fantasy MMA: UFC on Fox 7 Free Fan Pick’Em
Henderson has compiled a perfect 6-0 mark since arriving in the UFC as part of the World Extreme Cagefighting merger in 2011. The 29-year-old MMA Lab representative was an All-American wrestler at Dana College, an NAIA school in Blair, Neb., and can also call upon an extensive background in tae kwon do. A Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt under Royce Gracie protégé John Crouch, Henderson has recorded 16 wins in his last 17 bouts. Victories over former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar (twice), Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts export Donald Cerrone (twice), AMA Fight Club’s Jim Miller and onetime WEC titleholder Jamie Varner anchor his stellar resume.

A Cesar Gracie disciple, Melendez will carry a seven-fight winning streak into his first Octagon appearance. The 31-year-old Californian has delivered more than half (12) of his 21 professional wins by knockout, technical knockout or submission and avenged the only two defeats of his career. Melendez exited Strikeforce as the organization’s last lightweight champion.

UFC on Fox 7 “Henderson vs. Melendez” -- which airs live on Fox at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT -- will also feature a lightweight scrap pitting “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 5 winner Nate Diaz (156) against Josh Thomson (155) and welterweight duel pairing the surging Matt Brown (171) with Canadian import Jordan Mein (170).

Three hours prior, the FX network will carry six preliminary fights: Chad Mendes (146) vs. Darren Elkins (145), Francis Carmont (186) vs. Lorenz Larkin (186), Ramsey Nijem (156) vs. Myles Jury (156), Joseph Benavidez (125) vs. Darren Uyenoyama (125), Tim Means (156) vs. Jorge Masvidal (156) and T.J. Dillashaw (136) vs. Hugo Viana (135). The two remaining undercard bouts will stream to the UFC’s Facebook page, as WEC graduate Anthony Njokuani (155) toes the line against Roger Bowling (156) and Clifford Starks (185.5) locks horns with 2000 Olympic silver medalist Yoel Romero Palacio (185).

UFC on Fox 7 Weigh-In Results:


Benson Henderson (155) vs. Gilbert Melendez (154)
Daniel Cormier (235) vs. Frank Mir (257)
Nate Diaz (156) vs. Josh Thomson (155)
Matt Brown (171) vs. Jordan Mein (170)
Chad Mendes (146) vs. Darren Elkins (145)
Francis Carmont (186) vs. Lorenz Larkin (186)
Ramsey Nijem (156) vs. Myles Jury (156)
Joseph Benavidez (125) vs. Darren Uyenoyama (125)
Tim Means (156) vs. Jorge Masvidal (156)
T.J. Dillashaw (136) vs. Hugo Viana (135)
Anthony Njokuani (155) vs. Roger Bowling (156)
Clifford Starks (185.5) vs. Yoel Romero Palacio (185)
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