Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE
With the merging of the Strikeforce and UFC rosters on the horizon, the UFC president has big plans for a champion vs. champion fight in the Lightweight division.
Since word came out last month that Strikeforce Lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez wouldn't be fighting in the promotion's final event in January, there's been a lot of speculation on who he'll face after coming to the UFC. For his part, Melendez has been campaigning for an immediate shot at the current UFC 155 lb. champ Ben Henderson. Although some think he should get an introductory fight first.
Thursday, following the UFC 155 pre-fight press conference, UFC president Dana White told media members that he agrees with Melendez (via MMA Fighting):
It will probably come right away. We'll see.
Granted, Dana has been less than consistent following through on his promises of title contention. But, this does at least show that Melendez is in the proverbial mix.
Gil is coming off his fifth consecutive title defense since unifying the belt back in 2009. He's proven himself as one of the top talents in Strikeforce and was one of their few stars who remained after the Zuffa buy out.
Ben Henderson dominated Nate Diaz at UFC On Fox 5 for his second title defense since winning the belt from Frankie Edgar at UFC 144. He had no clear contender prior to this announcement from Dana. However, many expected Anthony Pettis to get the shot if he gets past Donald Cerrone at UFC On Fox 6. Pettis was the last man to defeat Henderson at WEC 53 where he landed the infamous Showtime Kick.