Gilbert Melendez and Cesar Gracie Looking for a Fight Inside the UFC

Sal DeRoseCorrespondent IMay 13, 2011

After his huge first-round victory over Tatsuya Kawajiri, Gilbert Melendez may have exhausted the Strikeforce lightweight talent pool.

Some media outlets even have the Strikeforce lightweight champion as the second-best lightweight in the world.

It's supposed to be "business as usual" for Strikeforce, but Melendez is open to the opportunity of fighting either Gray Maynard or current UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar.

“I agree and if it is business as usual people are going to want to see that fight, and maybe it can happen sooner than later,” Melendez told MMAWeekly Radio in April.

His trainer, Cesar Gracie, believes that if Melendez is to face the best competition available, Melendez won't find it inside Strikeforce, but inside the UFC.

“I really do not believe that,” Gracie told MMA Weekly when asked if there are contenders left in Strikeforce for Melendez. “And the reason I can say that is I’m looking at the talent pool they have in there, and I don’t see who they’re going to bring up.

“Guys that are winning are guys like [Shinya] Aoki and we’ve seen that fight. It was five rounds of Gilbert completely dominating the guy and beating him, and I don’t think other guys can even get past Aoki. You’ve seen Gilbert dominate Josh Thomson, and Thomson just recently lost to [Tatsuya] Kawajiri, and then Kawajiri comes over and just gets crushed, no pun intended, by Gilbert Melendez. So for exciting match-ups, I think we’re going to have to go outside of Strikeforce.”

The same thing that's being said about Melendez is also being said about his training partner, and best friend, Nick Diaz. Diaz has also beaten and cleared out the Strikeforce welterweight division in many eyes and many believe he should have a shot at Georges St-Pierre.

“I’m hoping that Dana [White] and these guys understand that also, and make the dream matchups that the fans really and truly want. We need to see these guys fight Gilbert Melendez over there,” Gracie said.

Gracie believes that if they are going to test his fighter, they have to test him against the UFC lightweight division.

“Gil wants to test himself. He wants that belt; he wants the UFC belt also to add to his collection of belts, and yeah I hope they put those fights together.”