After easily winning a decision over Jorge Masvidal at last weekend's Strikeforce event, Gilbert Melendez called for the UFC to bring him a worthy opponent.
While Melendez later commented saying it was mostly post-fight adrenaline that fueled the comments, one look at the Strikeforce lightweight roster shows that he has a reason to gripe.
There is literally no one left to give Melendez a decent fight, and if the UFC wants their sister promotion to be taken seriously, they need to share a little bit of talent.
The fighters on this list are all established UFC winners, but for some reason or another none of them are currently in line for a UFC title shot anytime soon, and their presence would be huge in Strikeforce.
All of these guys would give Melendez a decent fight, and whether they won or lost, Strikeforce would have a decent champion for the future.
Not only is he one of the most popular rising stars in the sport, Anthony Pettis has already shown that he can generate fans without the help of the UFC’s marketing behind him.
Sure, it was a once in a lifetime “Showtime Kick” that earned Pettis coverage on ESPN and about a hundred other media outlets, but that one kick has made him known as one of the most exciting fighters to watch in the sport.
Pettis has an unlimited amount of potential at this stage in his career, and a move to Strikeforce would not only give Melendez a viable contender for his belt but it gives Strikeforce a new star to promote, something they desperately need.
A few months ago it seemed like it was just a matter of time before Melvin Guillard was awarded his first shot at UFC gold.
Guillard was matched up against Joe Lauzon at UFC 136, a fight in which Guillard was a heavy favorite—and he came into the Octagon as such, showing an unprecedented swagger into the bout.
Guillard came out sloppy though, and Lauzon tagged him on the feet, dropping the knockout artist and followed up with a rear-naked choke to earn the upset victory.
With the loss, Guillard finds himself outside of the UFC title picture once again, but a move to Strikeforce would make him an instant contender and he could possibly walk straight into a title fight against Melendez.
Much like his brother before him, Nate Diaz could use Strikeforce to become a star.
Diaz has bounced between the lightweight and welterweight divisions in recent years, but has been unable to work his way to a UFC title shot during his current run, and a move to Strikeforce could catapult the younger Diaz into the spotlight.
Diaz would instantly become one of the organization's biggest stars, and his ability to finish fights both on the feet and the mat makes him extremely easy to market.
The only problem with Diaz crossing over would be his friendship with current teammate (and Strikeforce champion) Gilbert Melendez, but he could easily put on fantastic fights at both 155 and welterweight until Melendez either loses the belt or moves to the Octagon.
There is no chance that this ever happens due to Florian’s history with the UFC, but it might not be a bad idea for everyone involved.
Florian recently lost his third UFC title fight, and is now seemingly stuck in permanent gatekeeper status for the rest of his UFC run, but a move to Strikeforce would move him into title consideration much faster than trying to work his way back up the lightweight ladder.
Not only would the move benefit Florian, but adding a proven star like Kenflo to Zuffa’s second tier organization would do wonders for Scott Coker’s promotion and would give current champion Melendez a marketable fighter to defend his title against.
After years exciting the UFC crowds with his insane pace and energy, it may be time for Clay Guida to make his return to the organization where he won his only major title.
Guida was actually the first ever Strikeforce lightweight champion before losing the belt to Melendez back in June of 2006, a fight that Melendez won by split decision.
Guida was a win away from earning his first shot at a UFC title when he fought Benson Henderson at UFC on FOX in November.
The two long-haired warriors put on one of the most exciting fights of the year, but in the end Guida came out on the wrong side of a decision and is now stuck outside of the lightweight title picture.
A return to Strikeforce and a rematch with Melendez would give fans a fight that could be an instant classic, and no matter who came out on top the organization would have a talented and marketable champion.