Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
So you're a diehard UFC fan. You didn't even know what Strikeforce was until it was a Zuffa subsidiary. You're still not really clear on who...that guy was. The one that fought at UFC on Fox 7? The one that fought...what's his name again? The one with the hair and toothpick thing?
Anyway, yeah, the UFC is probably fast-tracking Gilbert Melendez back to a title fight. That isn't a courtesy they're extending to Ben Henderson, the top company man in the UFC, but hey, if he was a real company man he would've done what Dana wanted and lost to Frankie Edgar. Am I right?!
The UFC is actively looking to expand into Mexico right now, and they are trying very, very hard to find a Mexican equivalent to Jose Aldo. The UFC is looking to have a card in Mexico in 2014 and I guarantee you, they would love to have a Mexican fighter, or a fighter of Mexican descent, fighting with a belt on the line other than Cain Velasquez (who is too popular to relegate to the sort of regional-level cards the UFC has been putting together outside the United States and Canada).
Mediocre bantamweight Erik Perez was supposed to be that guy, but those plans were derailed when he dropped a split decision to Takeya Mizugaki. On top of that, there hasn't been a peep from the 10 "developmental fighters" they signed earlier this year, and at this point they aren't going to be anything other than preliminary fighters.
Melendez is a great fighter, and the UFC can easily try and rebrand "El Nino" as, quoting the Chicago Sun-Times, the new "Great Brown Hope." If his former Strikeforce rival Josh Thomson ends up beating Anthony Pettis this December, a title shot would make sense for Melendez. The fact that it makes a perfect headline for the UFC's Mexico debut is just icing on the cake.