Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez has a bone to pick with perennial UFC contender Gilbert Melendez since he believes "El Nino" has been consciously avoiding a fight with him for years.
"The Silent Assassin" is clearly less than thrilled over Melendez's decision to re-sign with the UFC just weeks after agreeing to a deal with Bellator.
Alvarez expressed his displeasure while filming promos for his third fight with Michael Chandler in Hollywood, per MMA Fighting.
"He didn't want come here," Alvarez said. "Gilbert doesn't want to come anywhere where I'm at. Gilbert don't ever want to sign with a company where I'm at. ... Wherever Gilbert goes, he wants to be the top dog, which is the same reason he's avoided me and will for years to come. Gilbert had the opportunity in the Dream tournament; he didn't. He had the opportunity to sign with Bellator, and go into a Bellator tournament; he didn't. ... He's a phony. It's a facade; it's a mask. He says he wants to fight me; he doesn't want to fight me."
As far back as May 2010, when Melendez was the Strikeforce 155-pound champ, the Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu fighter expressed interest in throwing down with Alvarez, per MMA Mania.
Under the Bellator banner, showdowns with Alvarez and Chandler seemed like inevitably crowd-pleasing matchups for the scrappy Mexican-American fighter.
Instead, Melendez opted for a UFC deal that earned him a coaching spot opposite champ Anthony Pettis on season 20 of The Ultimate Fighter, as well as a title shot before the end of the year, per ESPN.
Both competitors boast similar resumes: Alvarez has posted a 25-3 record overall and has avenged losses to Shinya Aoki and Chandler.
Meanwhile, Melendez has a 22-3 mark on his ledger, avenging his loss to Josh Thomson (twice).
Additionally, many believe that Melendez's 2013 slugfest with Diego Sanchez was the "Fight of the Year," while Alvarez's initial encounter with Chandler in 2011 was "Fight of the Year" material for most fans.
Would Melendez actually avoid a fight with Alvarez or is the Bellator champ just trying to make some headlines?
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