Former Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez will make his Octagon debut later this month vs. UFC champion Benson Henderson.
The two will headline UFC on FOX: Henderson vs. Melendez from San Jose, the old stomping grounds of “El Nino” while he was dominating in Strikeforce.
The 30-year-old set Strikeforce records with 10 championship bouts, six successful title defenses and 11 total wins, but knows he can push himself to another level by competing in the UFC now.
“For me, I am definitely prepared,” said Melendez, during a recent conference call. “I am looking forward to this opportunity. This is my opportunity to prove I am the No. 1 lightweight in the world.”
Melendez (21-2) received a first-hand look at Henderson when he defeated Nate Diaz last year, as Melendez and Diaz are training partners.
“I would love to get that for myself and teammate,” Melendez said, when asked about the revenge factor playing a part of the fight.
It will have been nearly four years since Melendez last suffered a loss when he steps inside the cage, having won his last seven fights – including three finishes.
“I would love to be able to bring that title back to the (Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu) gym,” he said, “and share it with those guys.”