Bellator announces deal with Gilbert Melendez

Posted: February 14, 2014 in Commentary/Opinion

gilbert-melendez2Well this is about the worst thing that could’ve happened to the UFC lightweight division short of Anthony Pettis getting injured again. Although this story isn’t quite over yet, Bellator has announced they have agreed to terms with contender Gilbert Melendez. The UFC has the right to match the offer if they’d like.

After spending much of his career in Strikeforce, Melendez finally made his UFC debut last year. He lost a very close and controversial decision to then-champion Ben Henderson. In his bounceback fight, he won a Fight of the Year candidate against Diego Sanchez. Those two fights were a strong indication that Melendez’s presence in the UFC was long overdue.

Now after just two fights, it appears he may be leaving already. He called Bellator’s offer “amazing.” Unfortunately for fans, this is far from an amazing situation. Bellator is a distant second to the UFC in the MMA world—at least Strikeforce was a legitimate competitor to the UFC at the time Melendez was their champion.

If Melendez does leave for Bellator it leaves a gaping hole at the top of the 155 pound class. Pettis is a dynamic and exciting champion, but his health always seems to be in question. That leaves TJ Grant and Josh Thomson as the top contenders aside from Ben Henderson, who’s already lost to Pettis twice. Here’s to hoping the Jose Aldo fight actually happens right?

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