Rundown of Strikeforce “Melendez vs. Masvidal” post-fight news and notes…
— Gilbert Melendez didn’t dominate Jorge Masvidal last night, as evidenced by his busted up face, but he did enough to pick up the win and successfully defend his Strikeforce lightweight championship. With the victory, Melendez was supposed to move over to the UFC where he and the rest of the world could find out once and for all if he truly is worthy of being called the number one lightweight in the world like he says he is. Alas, that wasn’t meant to be though now that Strikeforce is going to survive for at least another year.
Melendez doesn’t exactly sound “f-ing excited” about it as Dana White claimed, but he does have faith that the powers that be will take care of him.
“It’s been a roller-coaster trying to stay focused with all of this,” Melendez told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) following his win over Jorge Masvidal (22-7 MMA, 4-1 SF) in the main event of Saturday’s “Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal” card in San Diego. “I’ve got people telling me I’m going to the UFC. I’ve got people telling me I’m not. I also bring this pressure on myself saying I’m No. 1, you know what I mean? You’ve got to back it up when you talk like that.
“I’ve just got to have faith. What can I do? I’ve got no time to be crying or be negative about [expletive]. I’ve just got to stay focused and see what they bring to the table. We’ll go from there.”
“I’m happy to be a part of Strikeforce and Showtime,” Melendez said. “I’ve got faith that they’re going to do what’s good for me. Dana told me that. ‘It’s going to be great for your career.’
“When I signed with Strikeforce, I was like, ‘I don’t know, Scott.’ Then I was fighting on Showtime. I’m like, ‘Alright, I don’t know, Scott,’ and then he brings me Aoki, the No. 2 fighter in the world. Then I get a great challenge like Jorge. A lot of people underrate him. For me, this was a big win for me to get. Jorge is a guy I’ve seen in the circuit for a long time. I guess what I’m trying to get at is they manage to deliver for me, and I’ve got to continue to have faith that they will continue to deliver for me.
“We’ll all sit down together, and we’ll start talking. I think I’m in a position to ask some questions, and we’ll ask some questions and see what’s next.”
Gilbert Melendez isn’t the only one who has questions. The media and fans are all asking the same thing he is: What’s next? There’s no clear cut answers, however Scott Coker is confident they’ll find someone worthy of challenging Melendez.
“We’re going to keep building our league and keep putting new fighters that aren’t fighting for the UFC in Strikeforce,” Coker said. “There’s plenty of fighters out there. Not sure if you guys feel that way or not, but there’s plenty of fighters out there.
“In 2006, Gilbert fought for Strikeforce, and we had no TV deal. We had no sponsorship. He’s run the course with Strikeforce. I’m so happy that he is with us and has stayed with us. Really, I feel he’s still the No. 1 lightweight in the world. That’s just how I feel personally. He’s been around a long time. He and Frank (Shamrock) and Cung (Le) and Josh were the guys that were there from the very beginning. I’m proud to say he’s our champion, and we’re going to continue getting him great fights.”
Time will tell I suppose, but unless they bring over a worthy challenger from the UFC, there will be plenty of critics who claim his opposition isn’t good enough.
—Another Strikeforce champion in desperate need of worthy challengers is Cris Cyborg. Hiroko Yamanaka proved to be no match for the world’s best female fight last night when she found herself on the wrong end of a Cyborg blitzkrieg in the opening seconds of the fight. Ronda Rousey’s name came up as a possible contender after the fight, but Scott Coker says she is probably going to fight at 135 “for a bit,” presumably to set up a women’s bantamweight title fight with Miesha Tate, before she gets a crack at Cyborg.
“Ronda’s name keeps coming up, but I think Ronda is going to fight at 135 for a bit,” Coker said. “But Ronda has expressed interest in fighting at 145 and fighting for the title at some point.”
“I think all the fights that the media wants to see, the fans want to see, Showtime would like to see and we would like to see, I think all those fights will happen; just be patient,” Coker said. “Sean is out there scouring the earth, and we’re going to find some opponents for ‘Cyborg.’ Truly, she’s the Mike Tyson of female MMA.”
If the opportunity presents itself though, Cyborg says she’ll be ready. Working her way down to 135 is also a possibility.
“I’m ready for a fight with her,” Santos told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “I think she talks too much, but she can keep training, and when she’s ready, I’m ready.”
“I’m going to put in a valiant effort to try and make 135,” Santos said through in interpreter. “Maybe if I can make a catchweight and fight at 140 first and slowly make my way down to 135, but I’m going to put in a good effort to get down to 135.”
— Gegard Mousasi may have earned himself a shot at the vacant light heavyweight title with his decision win over prospect Ovince St. Preux last night. Scott Coker says it’s not official yet, but it’s definitely possible that Mousasi could end up facing the King Mo-Lorenzo Larkin winner for the title sometime next year.
“I think the fight we had tonight definitely had title implications for that championship belt,” Coker said. “Then on Jan. 7, we’ve got the fight between ‘King Mo’ and Lorenz Larkin which will have title implications, as well. It hasn’t been decided, but I think that’s kind of the path it’s headed in.”
— It’s unclear what’s next for KJ Noons following his victory over Billy Evangelista. Whoever Noons ends up facing, he just wants to put on a show for the fans.
“I’ll just take whoever Strikeforce throws at me,” Noons said. “I put on fights for the fans. Every single time, no matter who I fight, whether they’re the best or whatever, I always put on the best fight of the night – every time. I just want to get better as a fighter and put on more exciting fights.
“You’re going to get your money’s worth when K.J. Noons shows up, no matter what. I’ll fight anybody at any weightclass, and I’ll put on a good show, but I want to be the best. I’m ready to get back on this winning streak and put on good shows.”
The win was Noons’ first in a little over a year, but considering the lack of depth in Strikeforce’s lightweight division, it seems like the opportunity is there for Noons to clinch a title shot sooner than later.