Gilbert Melendez. Photo property of PRIDE FC Worldwide.
After winning his first 13 professional fights, Gilbert Melendez was quickly on his way to becoming the world’s top lightweight, until a trip to Japan for New Year’s Eve had him suffer his first loss to fellow wrestler Mitsuhiro Ishida. A bounce-back win over Gabe Lemley followed but Melendez ended up losing his Strikeforce lightweight title in his latest fight against Josh Thomson in June, and the California native went back to the drawing board.
These days, Melendez finds himself encompassed with the opening of his new gym, but is planning a return to action in January of next year, where he will finish the remaining fight left on his Strikeforce contract before testing out the free agent waters for the first time in a long time according to his comments in a recent interview with MMANews.com:
MMANews.com: What’s next in your fighting career?
Gilbert Melendez: To keep it going man. I didn’t make this gym to relax and make money. I did it for my training and to get better training. I have one more fight left with Strikeforce and after that fight I am going to weigh my options from there. My goal is to look amazing in my next fight because I have no choice to look amazing. I am going to take my time. I believe I will be fighting in January with Strikeforce and then after that I’ll see where I am at.
Melendez has the potential to become a great fighter, but can’t rely on his wrestling alone as he has done in past fights. He’s never seemed to be a fan of exclusive contracts, but if Melendez is able to avenge a previous loss to either Ishida or Thomson in his next fight, an enticing offer from Zuffa might be coming his way.
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