10 Reasons to Make Gilbert Melendez vs. BJ Penn Happen
Recently, former two-time world champion BJ Penn has expressed his desires to step away from the sport following his most recent loss to top contender Nick Diaz.
The Hawaiian was outgunned by the former Strikeforce champ, though both men walked away with "Fight of the Night" for their fan-friendly performance.
Some of Penn's greatest performance came in his not-so-comfortable surroundings of the 155-pound division, where "The Prodigy" has bested the likes of Jens Pulver, Kenny Florian, Joe Stevenson, Diego Sanchez, Caol Uno and Takanori Gomi, finishing all men before the final bell.
Now that the UFC subsidiary that is Zuffa has acquired the San Jose-based promotion in Strikeforce, there in lies many possible matchups that were not thought to be possible before.
If Penn decides to trudge forward in his mixed martial arts career, maybe a new change of scenery would be what the world renowned fighter needs.
Penn Needs Motivation
Las Vegas Sun
Following his decision loss to Diaz, Penn was left battered and bruised like he has never been before in his mixed martial arts career.
Now taking some time off to reevaluate things, Penn needs some motivation to step back in the cage and who better to provide that for him than a battle with a consensus top-three lightweight fighter like Gilbert Melendez?
Melendez Needs Motivation
For months, Melendez was led to believe that he would be joining the UFC roster, though head honcho Dana White later recanted those claims, stating that "El Nino" will stick with Strikeforce for the foreseeable future.
Now that Melendez has recently dispatched of Jorge Masvidal in his last outing, there seems to be no worthy or notable contenders for his title.
A battle with Penn would go a long way with keeping Melendez happy and motivated to stick around.
Strikeforce Needs Notable Fighters
Outside of Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos, Gegard Mousasi and Gilbert Melendez, there are very few fighters who can still elicit praise from the fans or media alike.
Since the acquisition of Strikeforce, former champions Alistair Overeem, Dan Henderson, Cung Le and Nick Diaz have all joined the UFC roster, leaving the promotion with a lack of notable opposition.
Bringing Penn into the fray would lend the organization the kind of spark it needs to attract more fighters in the future.
Lend Credence to Strikeforce
Since the acquisition, Strikeforce has already been labeled as the "B Team" to their sister promotion in the UFC, thanks to the lack of depth that the organization in their respective divisions.
Bringing in Penn, one of the greatest fighters of all time, would lend the organization some of the respectability that it has been looking to garner over the years.
Moves Penn Back to Lightweight
Penn has proven that natural talent can go a long way, despite weight disparities.
The Hawaiian has competed as high as heavyweight, though his natural division has always been the 155-pound class. Whilst the UFC's lightweight champion, Penn defended his belt three times against formidable opponents.
Bringing Penn into a battle with Melendez will bring him back to the lightweight division, where he should have remained all along as he has always been considerably smaller than most competitors in the welterweight class, where he has gone 3-4-1 in the division.
Keeps Melendez Satisfied
Melendez has defeated all opposition in his path and was thought to be an immediate fixture in the UFC's lightweight division, though Dana White later retracted those claims thanks to a new deal drummed up between that of Strikeforce and the Showtime television network.
Melendez has defeated the likes of Clay Guida, Rodrigo Damm, Mitsuhiro Ishida, Tatsuya Kawajiri, Josh Thomson and now Jorge Masvidal, and there now exists no notable competitors left in his way.
In order to keep their champion lively and satisfied, a battle with Penn will keep the Cesar Gracie fighter full of smiles.
Bridge UFC-Strikeforce Gap
Penn has proven to be a huge draw in the UFC and is one of the more polarizing figures in the sport, thanks to his enigmatic character and exciting style of fighting.
Though Strikeforce has garnered lots of attention in recent years, they are far and away the second-best promotion behind the UFC.
Bringing in a top talent like Penn would help bridge that gap, drawing more eyes on the promotion and giving them credibility as a viable alternative, despite belonging to the same Zuffa umbrella.
Draws Eyes to Strikeforce
The UFC has a large platform that enables them to be accessible to hundreds of millions of potential fans around the world.
Strikeforce does not, as Showtime is only available in 12 million homes.
Bringing a UFC-esque battle to the San Jose based promotion will garner more eyes on the organization, opening up their audience to a more viable, lively and aware crowd.
A battle between Melendez and Penn has always just been a "what if" hypothetical battle.
Now that the duo are housed under the Zuffa umbrella, a pivotal lightweight affair can now take place.
A former world champion looking for redemption against a dominant, world renowned lightweight stud?
You couldn't script it any better.
Sets Up Future Super Fights
Now that the UFC and Strikeforce are both under the same roof, these fantasy fights that were previously thought to be only regulated to delusions of grandeur can now come to fruition.
Alistair Overeem taking on Brock Lesnar this Friday is just one example of the machine at work, creating the fights that the fans have been calling for.
Should Penn enter the Strikeforce promotion and take on Melendez, it would open the door for a bunch of UFC stars to enter the Hexagon and test their meddle against some of the best of the Strikeforce roster.