Former Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez felt he would be excited beyond excitement to be fighting in the UFC.
However, upon hearing news of his first official fight, Melendez was overjoyed. “El Nino” will meet UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson on April 20 at UFC on Fox 7.
“Just knowing I’m having a title fight in the UFC, I’m motivated as heck,” said Melendez, while appearing on a recent episode of Inside MMA. “I thought I was going to be more excited when they said (I was) going to be fighting for the UFC lightweight title. More happy. In fact, I’m a little more focused and it’s a different feeling.”
Melendez controlled the lightweight division in Strikeforce for years, having defeated Josh Thomson in 2012. He missed the remainder of the year after suffering a shoulder injury in training, knocking him out of two planned meetings with Pat Healy.
“I wanna run. I wanna spar. I wanna train,” Melendez said. “It’s unbelievable that it’s finally happen. I’ll be a lot more happy when I win the title.”
Photo credit: Showtime