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Nate Diaz Explains Why Gilbert Melendez Is Number One

I’m trying to be the number one in this world. There’s only one person above all of us and that’s Gilbert ‘El Niño’ Melendez, the true world champion lightweight. – Nate Diaz, following his submission win over Jim Miller at UFC on Fox 3.

In a video interview with’s Jordan Breen, Nate Diaz was asked why he felt so inclined to shout out his Cesar Gracie teammate after he had just put on the best performance of his own career and had the platform to make his case for a title shot known.

I’ve been training with Gil and Jake (Shields) for years, man. These guys are older than me, they showed me a lot. I followed their careers. They’re guys I look up to. Me and Gil have been battling it out in here for years, you know? He’s got the most perfect record; he’s got a couple losses and he went back, trained hard and avenged both those losses with very impressive performances. So, there’s no one better than him, man. These guys that are champion now — Ben Henderson’s champion or whatever, it’s like, he’s done great too, but he just got the title. He just won it, he did a good job. Gil’s been holding onto his belt for a minute; he lost it, he went back and got it again. Frankie fought B.J., had his draws — it’s just been a lot of mix up with who’s the champion and Gil’s been holding it down, fighting the top contenders, fighting top three guys when they were top three at the time. He’s been ready to fight for the UFC title, too, forever. So, there’s no doubt in my mind he’s the best 155er on the planet. I think he deserves to be right there in the UFC holding the UFC belt, but they got him locked down on his Strikeforce contract. He’s been doing what he’s told, he’s willing to go over and fight for the UFC title and they didn’t want to let him do it. So, people might not know but that’s the best guy in the world right there. He’s got the belt to prove it and he’s the man.

Melendez is currently on deck to defend his Strikeforce lightweight title against Josh Thomson in what will be a rubber match. The two are slated to conclude their trilogy at Strikeforce 40 next Saturday. It was revealed today that Thomson had suffered a knee injury, but all indications are that The Punk will fight through it and take the title shot anyway.