Henderson vs Melendez eyed for April
The long-rumored and highly-anticipated fight between the two best lightweights in the world appears to be a go, as UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson and Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez will finally meet.
MMAFighting is reporting that the the fight could take place at UFC on Fox 7 in April:
According to sources with knowledge of the situation, the UFC has its sights set on April 20's UFC on FOX 7 event to pair UFC lightweight titleholder Henderson against Strikeforce's last reigning divisional champion, Gilbert Melendez.
The event is likely to take place in Melendez's backyard, at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California, where he competed eight times while on the Strikeforce roster. That promotion went out of business after last Saturday night's event.
According to sources, there are still potential roadblocks to the Henderson vs. Melendez that could force the organization to take a different path, but that matchup is the organization's intended direction.
This is a fight that makes sense on many levels. In the past year Benson Henderson has proved that he is the top lightweight in the biggest promotion, while Gilbert Melendez has shown through his career that he is perhaps the best lightweight outside the UFC.
While Anthony Pettis has argued that he is the next contender, he is already matched up with Donald Cerrone at UFC on Fox 6. This is a chance to have the first true undisputed title fight since former Pride champion Dan Henderson fought UFC middlewight champion Anderson Silva at UFC 82. Most importantly, this is a fight that will finally prove who is the best lightweight in the world today.
The UFC lightweight champ recently signed an eight-fight deal with the UFC, and "Bendo" was thrilled with the deal. Henderson's manager Malki Kawa spoke with MMAJunkie about the next opponent, and Melendez's name immediately was brought to the forefront:
"We really like the Gilbert Melendez fight, and I'll tell you why: Gilbert Melendez has been ranked either No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3 between himself, Frankie Edgar and Benson. Frankie was considered No. 1 in the world, and Benson beat him. Now some people are saying Gilbert might be No. 1 in the world. OK, well Benson would like to beat him, too, and leave no doubt that he is the best 155-pounder in the world.
"Depending on whose poll you look at over the past few years, it's been those guys in the top three spots, and Benson definitely wants to fight the best guys in the world. He's already defeated Frankie. Beating Gilbert would prove that Benson is absolutely the best lightweight in MMA."
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