Gilbert Melendez looked as good as we’ve ever seen him on Saturday night as he made short work of a tough opponent in Tatsuya Kawajiri.
Melendez has been trying to make a claim for the No.1 spot in the world at lightweight, and with performances like this he’s certainly put himself into the running for that.
So who should he fight next?
I was disappointed when Melendez signed a new deal with Strikeforce as the reality is there’s just not a deep enough roster to satisfy a fighter of his caliber at this moment in time. That’s already becoming painfully obvious as there isn’t a fight out there that can help to boost him further up the world lightweight rankings.
Really he should be fighting in the UFC now, taking on the likes of there lightweight champion Frankie Edgar, or someone like Dan Miller who I think would make for a terrific fight with him.
It’s unlikely that will happen in the near future though, so we have to make the best of what Strikeforce has available for him.
To be fair, a fight against the winner of KJ Noons Vs Jorge Masvidal, which is the most likely outcome here, should be entertaining, though the reality is that neither of these two is anywhere close to Melendez in the rankings as they stand.
The other possibilities for the champion are a rematch with Shinya Aoki and a third encounter with Josh Thomson. Both fights are likely to happen at some stage in the future if Melendez does continue with Strikeforce, but three of his last four fights have been against opposition he’s fought previously, and I’m sure I’m not alone in hoping that we get to see him against a fresh opponent next time out.
Therefore either Noons or Masvidal seems to be the best option.