Not enough can be said about Frankie Edgar’s career-defining lightweight championship defense last night against Gray Maynard. For the second time in a row, Edgar displayed incredible resiliency and the heart of a lion, again rallying from a devastating first round to take back the fight’s momentum; this time though, Edgar didn’t let the judges hold sway over the outcome.
The Answer put Maynard down with punches in the fourth round, sealing his title defense with a TKO finish. In victory, Edgar cements his status as one of the very best fighters in the world, at any weight, and opens up the floodgate to the gang of lightweight challengers waiting in the wings for a shot at his title.
One such man is Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez, whose immediate future seems to hang in the balance; he’s slated to face Jorge Masvidal in defense of his Strikeforce belt this winter, but the talk of bringing El Niño to the UFC – most notably by Dana White – has been growing daily. With fighters like Clay Guida and Ben Henderson hovering near that position as well, the champion is willing to take on anyone the UFC puts before him – but he admits that a match against Melendez is the most appealing.
“Yeah, I’m down with anything man. I’ll fight anybody,” said Edgar. “Gil definitely, I think it makes a lot of sense. Not taking anything from Clay and Ben, I think they make a lot of sense too. Obviously it’s up to these guys, I’ll fight whoever they want me to. Me and Gil would definitely sell a lot of pay-per-views, I think.”
A member of the Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu team, Melendez is currently on a five-fight winning streak, having defeated the likes of Josh Thomson, Shinya Aoki, and Tatsuya Kawajiri and looked better each time out. The 29-year-old sports an overall career record of 19-2, his only career losses coming by decision to Josh Thomson and Mitsuhiro Ishida.