Now or Never? Gilbert Melendez’s Stock may never be Higher than it is Now

Posted: December 14, 2012 in Commentary/Opinion
Tags: ,

We love call-outs don’t we? And we also love the lightweight division. So what happens’ when you combine them? Well, today, you have Gilbert Melendez calling out Ben Henderson for a potential champion vs. champion fight. Let’s discuss.

It’s a good move by Melendez, and the timing couldn’t be better for him. He’s the reigning Strikeforce champion, which gives him some clout in asking for the fight. His perceived value may never be higher than it is right now, while he’s wearing that belt. Most legitimate MMA sites have Melendez sitting somewhere in the top 5 lightweights in the world right now, so it makes sense that he’s trying to capitalize on that.

But we have some warning signs as well. There isn’t a strong precedent for an immediate title shot. Look at the other Strikeforce champs to enter the UFC.  Nick Diaz didn’t get an immediate shot—he fought BJ Penn and then Carlos Condit first (in fairness, Diaz was supposed to fight GSP, but blew it). Dan Henderson didn’t get an immediate shot—he fought Shogun in his first fight back to the UFC. Alistair Overeem didn’t either—he fought Brock Lesnar. So how can Melendez argue for an immediate shot at Henderson?

A lot of that depends on the UFC and how badly want to see that fight. They BADLY wanted to see the Diaz/GSP fight right away, but things kind of didn’t work out did they? Now they have a cluster-f and seem to be bypassing some other guys just to make it happen. They also wanted Bellator champ Hector Lombard to come in and become a major threat to Anderson Silva right away. That got derailed because Lombard was—in other people’s words, not mine—exposed by Tim Boetsch.

The bottom line is that if Melendez is supposed to be a major contender in the UFC, they better get on that fight soon. But if they feel like they’ve already got plenty of LW contenders, they’ll probably wait it out. If history repeats itself, we may find out that maybe Melendez isn’t the fighter we think. Maybe.


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