Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez is growing restless.
The Cesar Gracie fight team member has not fought since dominating Japanese MMA superstar Shinya Aoki in defense of his title this past April. He was looking to take on top lightweight fighter Eddie Alvarez but talks concerning that fight have apparently cooled, leaving Melendez searching for intriguing bouts outside of his weight class. Speaking with BloodyElbow.com recently, “El Niño” explained that he doesn’t feel there to be many willing challengers present in his home division and that he would be open to challenging himself against one of Strikeforce’s newest roster additions.
“Honestly I’m ready for some new blood. I’ve cleaned out a lot of guys in the 155 lb. division so I will probably have to fight a couple of guys again who are in my weight class. I know that is a possibility so I’m prepared to deal with that,” Melendez said. “Then I hear Paul Daley called out K.J. Noons and Nick Diaz and while I know that Diaz is down…Noons says that Daley isn’t worthy and I think that Paul Daley is a Top 10 guy. I would love to jump up and fight somebody with a high profile like that who would raise my stock in the pound for pound rankings. Something like that interests me and those are the kinds of things I want to bring to the table.”
Melendez told BloodyElbow that he is willing to accommodate Daley and that, if a catchweight cannot be reached, he would even be willing to fight at welterweight in order to truly test himself.
“We can do a catch weight bout at 165 lbs. but if he has a problem making that and we would need to do 170 lbs. then let’s do it,” Melendez said. “I want to challenge myself, stay motivated and that’s something that I would be totally up for even if nobody else is. No one in Strikeforce is calling my name out after the fights. Nobody is looking for a fight with me. They are all calling out K.J. Noons. What about me? I’m the champ…let’s get to it.”
Daley recently made his Strikeforce debut, knocking out “Comeback King” Scott Smith in the first round of their Strikeforce: Henderson vs. Babalu 2 scrap.
How do you think a fight between Daley and Melendez would play out? Are you interested in seeing it or would you rather see Melendez take on someone else, possibly in his own division? Sound off in the comments section.