Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
After a bewildering amount of hype that lead to nothing, Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez is finally coming to the UFC. He’ll be there in the first quarter of 2013—that’s all but a guarantee.
When he gets there he might very well jump the queue and step right in to unify the titles against the present champion. Whether that’s fair or not is irrelevant, as it’s a very real possibility.
While he’ll never fight his teammate and friend Diaz, if he’s the one to leave Seattle as champion on Saturday, Melendez could make a lot of sense as a potential opponent for Henderson around March.
The Cerrone vs. Pettis winner may have something to say about that, but sometimes injuries and scheduling dictate matchmaking, and Melendez might just be able to walk into a title shot as a result.
He’ll probably be watching cageside from Diaz’ corner on Saturday, but his interest may be of the “self” variety as much as it will be in his teammate taking home a title.