Strikeforce have announced today that their current lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez has signed a new multi-year deal.
“I’m healthy again and excited about fighting again real soon,” Melendez said in the press release to announce the signing. “It doesn’t matter who I fight. I just want to get back in there and rip.”
Currently on a four fight winning streak, the 18-2 Melendez is widely regarded as one of the top lightweights in the world, a position that was strengthened after he defeated Japan’s highly regarded Shinya Aoki in his last fight for Strikeforce.
In the past Melendez has hinted at an interest in fighting in the UFC since that is where the vast majority of the world’s top 155lb fighters currently reside, and as such there have been difficulties in finding suitable opponents for him. Despite that, it seems the 28 year-old has had a change of heart and chosen to stick with the promotion that he’s spent the majority of his career fighting for.
For Strikeforce it’s a good business deal, ensuring that another of their top fighters doesn’t defect to their major rivals. The promotion have made similarly shrewd deals recently with the likes of Fedor Emelianenko, Nick Diaz and Gegard Mousasi.