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Gilbert Melendez Can Finally Call Himself A UFC Fighter

Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez can finally utter those four words he has longed to say.

“When people tell me, ‘Yo, you fight UFC?’ I can finally say, ‘Yes, I fight UFC now,'” said Melendez, during a recent interview with “For a minute that was a hard question to answer, but I think that might be the most rewarding thing about it.”

Melendez was expected to compete on the final Strikeforce card, but a shoulder injury suffered in late 2012 kept him off the event. Now, he will make his next appearance inside the Octagon.

However, after spending the last three years ruling Strikeforce’s 155-pound division, “El Nino” is feeling a bit emotional about the promotion coming to an end.

“A lot of mixed emotions with Strikeforce going down,” Melendez said. “I fought in the very first MMA Strikeforce card, I hold a lot of records there, I’m the champ there and I really appreciate what Scott Coker’s done. But you know, (there is) also a new chapter in my life and it looks like my next fight will be in the UFC and that is exciting for me, as well.”