In speaking with BloodyElbow.com recently, Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert “El Niño” Melendez expressed frustration at the current lack of intriguing contenders in his promotion’s 155-pound division and called out (respectfully) one of Strikeforce’s newest welterweight players.
“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,” Melendez told BloodyElbow. “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. We can do it at a catchweight bout at 165-pounds but if he has a problem making that and we need to do it at 170-pounds, then let’s do it.”
Daley recently responded to Melendez’s challenge through The Underground MMA forum, saying that he is open to the fight but that he has reservations about the flak he might receive for fighting a lightweight.
“Gilbert Melendez has called me out. Says he’ll fight at 170lbs. I’m down, but i know i will get negative feedback from the MMA Media for fighting a Lightweight,” Daley wrote. “…again, despite having KO/TKO’d 2 middleweights in my past 3 fights (Acacio and Smith). So still we have a problem, what i want is another fight in between fighting Diaz, a fight that makes sense and qualifies me, for fighting for the Strikeforce WW title.”
Melendez last appeared in action this past April when he successfully defended his lightweight title to Japanese MMA standout Shinya Aoki over a dominant five rounds. Daley made his Strikeforce debut earlier this month at Strikeforce: Henderson vs. Babalu 2, where he knocked out Scott Smith in the first round.