Gilbert Melendez was asked about pressure during a conference call earlier this week.
Melendez, the former Strikeforce lightweight champion, will make his Octagon debut against Benson Henderson for the UFC title later this month at UFC on FOX 7.
After seeing teammates Nate and Nick Diaz fail to secure UFC championships in recent months, “El Nino” admitted that, while it would be nice to bring a title to Cesar Gracie’s team, just receiving title shots is quite the achievement.
“I try not to put too much pressure on myself; just fight my fight,” he said. “I think it’s a great accomplishment for the whole team to even get title fights. I would love to be able to bring that title back to the gym and share it with those guys.”
Nate Diaz was defeated by Henderson last year, and Melendez was on hand to witness the bout. He’s trained with Diaz quite a bit in preparation for meeting “Smooth.”
“When your buddies fight, you can’t help but get emotional,” Melendez said. “If you can back up your friend, you will. Nate’s my boy. We are like best friends. We came up together and he has been coming out a lot (to my camp) and working with me on my wrestling.”
Melendez has been considered one of the top lightweights in the world for several years, so this match with Henderson should be a classic.