Gilbert Melendez emerged victorious in this rubber match with Josh Thomson to retain his lightweight belt last night in the Strikeforce cage, but though he’s confident he did enough to earn his split decision win he acknowledges that it wasn’t his best performance.

“I feel good. I know I won that fight. I know Josh was huffing and puffing a lot more than I was,” Melendez told Shosports backstage after the fight. “I wasn’t really tired. I just couldn’t let the inner beast out for some reason.”

During the fight Melendez was able to secure several takedowns, but wasn’t able to capitalize on it with Thomson doing a good job of getting back to his feet.

“It’s tough. It takes a lot of energy,” was Melendez assessment of it. “I think if I had done more takedowns and made him get up more that it might have been easier, but it’s tough to hold a guy down.”

With yet another close fight between the two and the San Jose crowd booing the decision after a strong ending from Thomson in the fourth and fifth rounds talk of a fourth fight between the two has immediately surfaced, but Melendez, who admitted pre-fight to struggling to get motivated for their latest encounter, was keen to pour cold water on the idea.

“I won the trilogy. This was supposed to be the end of this. Everybody was like, ‘Let’s settle this once and for all.’ Didn’t we settle it? If you guys want to pay me triple or double, we’ll talk.”

It’s easy to understand why ‘El-Nino’ would be keen to seek new challenges in the division, but with the Strikeforce lightweight roster being rather threadbare it’s tough to see who else there is in the cage that can test him.

When asked even the fighter himself isn’t sure what comes next, but despite fans clamouring for him to be rolled into the UFC where a whole roster of exciting fights would await him he’s staying loyal to the promotion that made him a star.

“You guys tell me. I’m proud to be a part of Showtime and Strikeforce. I’m going to keep holding the throne.”