Dana White Says Gilbert Melendez Will "Probably" Get Title Shot in Debut

Matthew RothFeatured ColumnistDecember 27, 2012

HOLLYWOOD - MARCH 17:  Strikeforce World Lightweight Champion Gilbert 'El Nino' Melendez attends the CBS' Strikeforce MMA Fighters Open Media Workout on March 17, 2010 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images)
Valerie Macon/Getty Images

After the UFC 155 pre-fight press conference for Saturday's card, Dana White spoke with attending media as per usual. While most have focused on his extended rant regarding Victor Conte, there was a pretty important nugget of information that affects the future of the UFC's lightweight division.

After soundly defeating Nate Diaz at UFC on Fox 5, there were questions regarding who was next in line for UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson. Diaz was adamant that Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez would pose the biggest threat to Henderson's title reign. 

However, with the future of Strikeforce unclear, most assumed that it would go to the winner of the Donald Cerrone/Anthony Pettis bout that is scheduled for UFC on Fox 6 in Chicago on Jan. 26. 

With Strikeforce running its last show in Oklahoma City in January and the fighters making the transition to the UFC, it will likely be Melendez who gets the next shot at the UFC lightweight title. 

"It will probably come right away," said White. "We'll see."

This is one of those bouts that needs to happen for a number of reasons. Gilbert Melendez has remained in the discussion for top lightweight in the world despite not fighting in the UFC's lightweight division. 

There have been arguments made that due to the fact that he's never faced the BJ Penns or the Frankie Edgars or even the Gray Maynards, he lacks the resume to be considered one of the top fighters in the division. 

For Henderson, it would all but cement him as the top dog at 155. With two wins over Edgar and a five-round domination of Nate Diaz, Henderson is quickly making the case for best lightweight of all time. A win over Melendez would end all discussions. 

Quotes attained firsthand from Jeremy Botter, who is in Las Vegas for Bleacher Report.