Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE
Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez would like to have a "champion versus champion fight" with UFC champion Benson Henderson.
Gilbert Melendez has been in an odd situation in MMA over the past few years. After voluntarily signing a new contract with Strikeforce only to see the promotion purchased by Zuffa (parent company of the UFC). Since the Strikeforce purchase many fans have acted as though Melendez has been wronged by not being given shots at UFC talent.
With the end of Strikeforce looming, Melendez has his eyes set on some much bigger game than he's been able to face under his current contract, as discussed with Duane Finley of Bleacher Report:
"I want to fight Benson Henderson," Melendez told Bleacher Report. "I think a champion versus champion fight makes absolute sense right now. I think we already know how things are going to work out between Benson Henderson and a lot of other lightweight fighters in the UFC, but I'm that mystery fighter. No one really knows how I'm going to matchup with anyone. I have been around for a long time and have been the top lightweight in the world before Benson or any of these other guys.
"I think I have a lot of answers for his style. Sometimes he fights a wrestler like Guida who doesn't have great hands, and sometimes he fights strikers who can't really wrestle. Look at his fights against "Cowboy" Cerrone back in the day, or even Pettis. I have that wrestling pedigree where he ain't taking me down, and I'll be stuffing some shots. I'm not backing away, and I'll be dropping some bombs. I'm not an easy guy to stand with. I have a lot of power, and I'm not running away from kicks. I don't run away from anything. I hold my ground. I'll be coming for him, and anything he dishes out I'll be answering back twice as hard.
Henderson vs. Melendez is a great fight on paper for many of the reasons Gil outlined. They both have well-rounded games that are likely very complimentary and would lead to an exciting bout.
But some of the struggles that Melendez had in his last fight with Josh Thomson (a split decision win) would likely surface against the much better Henderson.
Vote in today's poll on who would win this champion vs. champion match-up.
Who wins a fight between Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez and UFC champion Ben Henderson?
Henderson by decision (443 votes)
Henderson by stoppage (KO/TKO/SUB) (116 votes)
Melendez by decision (83 votes)
Melendez by stoppage (KO/TKO/SUB) (42 votes)
684 total votes