According to Gilbert Melendez, his next title defense is scheduled for Strikeforce’s upcoming Heavyweight Grand Prix Finals show on May 19. Don’t ask him who he’s fighting though, because he doesn’t know.
What he does know however is that he doesn’t think it should be a rubber match with Josh Thomson. In fact, from what he told Heavy.com in a recent interview, he thinks Pat Healy is more deserving of a title shot based on their performances at Strikeforce “Tate vs. Rousey.”
“I know that’s what he said, and he can try,” Melendez told HeavyMMA after the event. “I think he was trying to make me laugh. It was a good fight, but I wasn’t super impressed. Josh Thomson said it himself – that he looked like sh*t, and I don’t know if he was complete sh*t, but those were his words and I’ll let him be the one to say it.”
“I thought (Pat) ‘Bam Bam’ Healy looked really good, and he might be more deserving of a title shot than Josh, in my opinion,” Melendez said. “Josh was losing in his fight against Healy, and he got a Hail Mary rear naked choke at the end. But it’s whatever to me. K.J. and Josh both lost to the last two guys I beat. I just smashed (Tatsuya) Kawajiri, and he beat Josh Thomson in his fight before this and (Jorge) Masvidal beat Noons. It is what it is, and I’ll fight whoever they bring me.”
Ultimately though, Melendez says he really doesn’t care who Strikeforce matches him up against. He is holding out hope however that Dana White brings him a top five opponent.
“I’m fighting May 19,” Melendez said. “I don’t know against who yet but I don’t care – I’m fighting May 19 in San Jose (Calif.). I need to stay busy and I’m going to be on that card. We’ll see, and I have to keep faith they will deliver. It would be nice if they could bring over some Top 5 competition, and hopefully there is something in the works. I talked to (UFC president) Dana (White), and he told me he would do me justice – and I have to have faith in what he says.”
But did Melendez talk to Dana before or after he basically washed his hands of everything Strikeforce? Because prior to Saturday Dana was all gung-ho about getting his hands on Strikeforce and turning it into a promotion that would be loved by fans and fighters alike, but basically did a 180° once Showtime decided they didn’t want his input after all. Dana may have had every intention of bringing over a top five opponent for Melendez before, but is that still the case now that he wants nothing to do with Strikeforce? Dana has surprised me before so maybe so, but I can’t say I’m not skeptical.