Gilbert Melendez (21-1) makes is UFC debut in fashion, as he challenges for the lightweight title in his first fight for the promotion. The final Strikeforce lightweight champion likes that he’s finally been brought over to the UFC, but will be much happier once the gold is around his waist.
“Just knowing I’m having a title shot in the UFC, I’m motivated as heck,” said Melendez on Inside MMA. “It’s unbelievable that it’s finally happening. I thought I was going to be more excited when they said you are going to be fighting for the UFC lightweight title. In fact, I’m a little more focused and it’s a different feeling. I’ll be a lot more happy when I win the title.”
For Melendez to win the championship, he must defeat Benson Henderson (18-2) who has been unstoppable since joining the UFC roster. Henderson is a perfect 6-0 for the UFC, which includes a 2012 where he won the title and defended it twice over Frankie Edgar and Nate Diaz. Melendez, who is a teammate of Diaz, comes in on a seven fight win streak out of Strikeforce since 2009.
Melendez vs. Henderson headlines UFC on FOX 7, which takes place from the HP Pavilion in San Jose, CA. The free show airs on April 20 and also features Frank Mir vs. Daniel Cormier.