Last weekend Dana White indicated that he is interested in bringing Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez over to the UFC as soon as possible, and today following the UFC 136 pre-fight press conference he stated that he could potentially head straight into a title fight with the winner of Saturday night’s Frankie Edgar Vs Gray Maynard rematch.
“I don’t have a clear vision. There’s so many guys that are so talented that we need to make a fight and get somebody to be a contender or bring Melendez in and make that fight right away,” White told the assembled media according to MMANation.
Earlier in the week Melendez next scheduled opponent Jorge Masvidal claimed that he had already signed a contract to fight for the title in December and had been assured that the fight would be going ahead as planned, but White indicated today that those plans could change.
“We’ll see what happens. I have to run my business so if I have to yank him over here then I’ll do it.”
If that does happen it’s an unfortunate situation for Masvidal who is perhaps being underrated in this bout and despite not being the most recognized fighter in the division could pose the champion some problems with his clinical counter-striking and ever-improving grappling ability.
Personally I’m a little surprised that White feels the need to bring Melendez into the UFC fold so urgently given that there are a number of solid challengers like the winner of November’s Ben Henderson Vs Clay Guida bout and Melvin Guillard who could comfortably slot into the No.1 contenders spot for now.
Perhaps the thinking is that if Maynard wins at the weekend then they may need to spice things up a little to raise people’s interest in the next title fight, and shipping Melendez over could do that.
They may also be looking to steer clear of Melendez facing a potential upset against Masvidal before joining the UFC since right now he’s one of the hottest properties at 155lbs.