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Gilbert Melendez, Pat Healy Feel Strikeforce Lightweight Division Is Tough

Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez has asked for Zuffa to bring some of the elite UFC 155-pounders to the promotion over the past year. However, that doesn’t mean “El Nino” feels the division is not right up there with the UFC’s.

Melendez will defend his title on September 29 at Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Healy against Pat Healy. The bout serves as the main event for the Showtime-televised card.

“I’ve always thought the division was tough,” said Melendez, during a pre-fight press conference Tuesday. “Sometimes you ask for something in your best interest, but Jorge Masvidal and Josh Thomson could beat a lot of guys in the UFC, and Pat has beat a lot of guys in the UFC.”

Melendez is considered to be one of the top fighters at 155 pounds, along with UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson and Nate Diaz, a teammate of Melendez under Cesar Gracie.

“We just need to keep fighting, keep grinding to prove (Strikeforce fighters are as good as UFC fighters),” Melendez said. “I am proud to be part of Strikeforce.”

Healy, who has fought for years in several promotions, added, “We have a lot of good athletes, and (Strikeforce) keeps bringing people in. I would say (155 pounds) is one of the toughest divisions in Strikeforce.”