Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez has been one of the most recent Strikeforce fighters to be involved with a move over to the UFC.
Compiling a record of 19-2 outside of the UFC, Melendez was thought to be coming to the company as soon as possible. But instead he will defend his belt once more against Jorge Masvidal in December.
His coach, Cesar Gracie, recently sat down with Brazilian website, Tatame.com, to talk about his star pupil and had some pretty big claims about his fighter.
“Absolutely it’ll be his last fight [in Strikeforce]," said Gracie. “I believe Melendez is the best of the world in this division."
Gracie may be right as Melendez is currently considered a top-three lightweight by some and a top-five lightweight by many.
Melendez's time though with Strikeforce seems to be coming to an end. Melendez has fought under the Strikeforce banner since 2006 and since then has compiled a record of 9-1 with his only loss being against Josh Thomson.
In that span Melendez has avenged his loss to Thomson, his loss to Mitsuhiro Ishida and has demolished Shinya Aoki. Also, Melendez has beaten Clay Guida, who may very likely be his first opponent inside the UFC.
No matter how much success Melendez has had inside Strikeforce, Gracie believes Masvidal is still a really tough opponent and should not be overlooked.
“It’s a very dangerous fight. Melendez has nothing to win, there’s the problem,” said Gracie. “I didn’t want him to do it. I believe he’s gonna win, he’s a better fighter, but in any fight you can either win or lose and it’s not different this time. Melendez has everything to lose and nothing to gain. He needs to fight the top fighters. Masvidal sometimes is good, but sometimes he loses to some guys nobody knows.”
A dangerous fight indeed with the toughest of his opponents still yet to come.