Gilbert Melendez to Get UFC Title Shot With Tatsuya Kawajiri Win Tonight

The MMA world was once again bustling today with news emerging that Strikeforce Lightweight Champion, Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez has been informed by UFC President, Dana White that a win April 9 will grant him entry to the UFC. Further to that, his first fight within the promotion will be against the winner of upcoming Lightweight Championship bout, Gray Maynard or Current Champ, Frankie Edgar.

“Gilbert is a great guy, and a great fighter,” said White in an interview on Aol with reporter Ariel Helwani. “I let him know yesterday that with a win over Kawajiri, he could sign a new contract with the UFC and fight for the UFC Lightweight title.”

When asked what will happen if Melendez fails to find success over the Japanese contestant, he simply replied, “If he wants a shot in the UFC, he better not fuck this up.”

White has spoken very highly of the current Strikeforce 155lb Champion of late, however the news came as quite a shock to most. Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker was quoted as responding, “Gilbert goes in there, and he gets the job done every time.

He has beaten the best guys we have in Strikeforce, and he beat the best guys when he was involved with EliteXC.” He continued saying, “Yes, it’s shocking. And if you ask me honestly, ya I’d hate to see (Melendez) leave, but he deserves to have the best opportunities presented to him. If he feels this is something he wants, I’ll accept that and stand behind him.”

Melendez has long been overshadowed by the Lightweights of the world’s largest and most known MMA organization. Usually reaching no higher than #5 in the top 10 rankings, the Scrap Pack 155’er has been on a tear since his career began in 2002.

Now 9 years later, his record stands as a testament to his work ethic with an impressive 19 wins and 2 losses, finishing 12 of his opponents. The majority of the highest ranking Lightweights can hardly say the same, with Frankie Edgar having just 13 wins, and 5 being finishes. Gray Maynard can’t even say that much, with 10 victories on his record, and a mere 2 finishes to his credit. Eddie Alvarez is the closest top Lightweight when comparing records, coming up victorious on 21 of 23 bouts, with 19 coming by way of knockout or submission.

Having Melendez as an addition to the currently stacked UFC 155lb division would surely allow him the opportunity to prove he is perhaps the top world Lightweight fighter. His only roadblock now seems to be in Tatsuya Kawajiri.

About William Smith

After watching the first Ultimate Fighting Championship I became instantly hooked. I've been a huge fan of the sport of MMA ever since. Haven't missed a UFC event & thanks to fight pass I've witnessed some of the all time greatest fighter & athletes the sport through Pride, Strikeforce, WEC, Glory, Pacrase, EliteXC.............. I resently joined MMA-paradise.com & will use this site to continue to bring the latest news from the world of MMA to all our loyal followers.