According to Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez, he has not signed a contract to face Jorge Masvidal later this year.
Several sources reported that a bout sheet between Melendez and Masvidal had been signed for the two to meet in the fall, possibly in November or December.
But, “El Nino” says no such deal has been made.
“First of all, there is no contract signed,” Melendez said in a report by ESPN writer Franklin McNeil. “But it’s not rocket science – it’s the process of elimination. Right now (Masvidal) seems like the No. 1 contender. Id’ say JZ (Gesias) Cavalcante is No. 2; maybe (Justin) Wilcox is No. 3.”
Melendez’s trainer, Cesar Gracie, had been quoted as saying the fight was on.
“I didn’t say that,” Gracie said. “I said he’s slated to fight, but he hasn’t signed yet. That’s what the talk has been (a fight with Masvidal), but nothing has been signed.
“I told (MMAFighting.com) that nothing’s been signed, but that (Melendez-Masvidal) is probably what’s going to happen next.”
Melendez (19-2) has fought just once this year, defeating Tatsuya Kawajiri by TKO in the first round. He has won five straight fights.
“I’d like to get in (the cage) as soon as possible,” Melendez said. “But I want to get in when the boss (Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker) wants me to get in. If the boss wants me to get in tomorrow, I will get in tomorrow. If the boss wants me to get in in November, I will get in in November. If he wants me to wait until January, I will wait until January.
“I will do whatever I have to do to get closer to being No. 1.”
Masvidal (22-6) defeated K.J. Noons by decision earlier this year, giving him back-to-back wins for the first time since 2009. He is 5-3 in his last eight fights.