Melendez Talks Kawajiri, Pettis Talks Guida on The Fight Fix

Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez spoke to Dustin Green of The Fight Fix about his bout this Saturday against Tatsuya Kawajiri at Strikeforce: Diaz vs Daley. Melendez tells Green that he's evolved much more than Kawajiri since their epic 2006 confrontation.

Green also speaks to the final WEC lightweight champ Anthony Pettis about his UFC debut against Clay Guida at The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale. Pettis was promised a title shot upon entering the UFC, but the UFC 125 tie between Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard forced him to take on the very tough Guida instead.

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Transcript in the full entry.

SBN coverage of Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley
SBN coverage of The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale

Gilbert Melendez Interview:

46 secs, on what he can take into this bout from the 1st fight - "The guy is actually the strongest guy I've ever fought, so knowing the kind of strength I'm going to deal with is actually good to know.  I don't feel like he's evolved as much as me as a fighter, so I can go back and look at his tape and see how I matched up against him.  It's been 3 ½, 4 ½ years so I can't say that for sure, but I been following his career for a long time, so it definitely does help."

1:22, on how much better he thinks he is now - "I think I'm 10 times better.  I always fight with heart and guts out there, but nowadays I'm a lot more intelligent.  I bring out different styles for different opponents.  I'm looking forward to showing him I've evolved 10 times more than he has."

1:45, on always having a bullseye on his back as the 155 champion - "This is what it's about man.  Part of being the champ, a true champion is defending the throne and that's what I wanna do.  I wanna defend this title a couple times.  That's how you make your statement.  I'm trynna prove I'm the #1 lightweight in the world and that's the way to do it.  Other guys are motivated to try to get that opportunity to beat you, but I stay motivated.  The pay.  This is my career.  I gotta stay on top of it.  This is what's gonna put food on my table."

2:29, on talking to the UFC about fighting Frankie Edgar or other 155 contenders - "You know what man, nothing's come up yet and I haven't started inquiring.  I haven't made any calls yet, but after I deliver [this] Saturday, I'm definitely gonna start talking a little more and inquiring a lot more."

2:46, on what fans can expect to see from him on April 9th - "April 9th, man I hope the fans come out and check me out.  I never promise victory, but I promise I'll come out there and I'll fight my heart out and I'll put on a great show.  I'm pretty sure I'm gonna get the W."

3:05, Melendez-Kawajiri I Stats from Pride Shockwave, Dec. 31st, 2006 per

Anthony Pettis Interview:

4:12, on what he did with his WEC title belt - "I still have it at my house.  I just moved, so I'm gonna be framing it up.  I own a sports bar in downtown Milwaukee, so that's going right above my bar.  That's crazy cuz most people don't ask me about the belt.  Everybody forgets I won the belt and they all ask me about the kick.  I'm definitely gonna cherish that thing.  Last WEC lightweight champ ever."

4:38, on the options given to him by the UFC after Edgar-Maynard III was made - "The UFC gave me the option to wait until their next fight, then fight the winner of that.  I didn't wanna wait, it could be a year, it could be next year, I don't wanna wait.  I got a  lot of momentum coming off my last couple of fights.  I told them I wanted to fight Clay Guida.  If I'm gonna take a fight, I wanted to fight Guida cuz he was there [at UFC 125] fighting.  Fought a great fight.  He's just one of those competitors that would show where I'm at in the lightweight division.  I told Joe Silva ‘if I'm gonna fight, I wanna fight Clay Guida' and he said ‘I'll make it happen.'"

5:11, on why he chose Clay Guida - "Stylistically.  Fighting him would really prepare me for a Frankie Edgar, a Gray Maynard.  [Guida has] wrestling, okay standup.  Stylistically, he's a good matchup for me to go from camp to camp."

5:36, on whether or not Guida was the 1st guy he wanted to fight off the top of his head - "There was a couple guys, but timing-wise, his made sense.  He's just coming off a fight, I'm just coming off a fight.  Timing-wise it made sense.  Like you said, he's coming off 3 big wins.  He's bringing his name back and he has a huge name.  Everybody knows who Clay Guida is.  Me fighting a Clay Guida would definitely put my stock up."

5:57, on how excited he is for his 1st UFC fight - "I can't wait!  It's gonna be June 4th.  I'm excited to be in the UFC octagon.  I just can't wait."

6:13, on the competition in the 155lb division - "There are so many good fights that are gonna happen.  There are so many good fighters.  It's hard to weed these guys out, cuz everybody's good.  Everybody's good and it's just gonna be who wants it the most."    

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