The word is that Gilbert Melendez is being lined up to fight Jeremy Stephens in a featherweight encounter at UFC 215 on September 9th in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Former long-time Strikeforce lightweight champion Melendez has found the going tougher since joining the UFC in 2013, beginning with a narrow split decision loss to the champion at the time, Ben Henderson in his Octagon debut.
He did then claim a win over Diego Sanchez, but has since slumped to a three-fight losing streak against Anthony Pettis, Eddie Alvarez and Edson Barboza, while also serving a year-long suspension in 2015 after testing positive for testosterone metabolites.
Now the 35-year-old is looking to resurrect his career with a drop down to featherweight, where he’ll be going up against a 31-year-old Stephens who has also hit upon tough times.
Stephens has been fighting frequently over the past three years, but he’s lost five of his last seven fights, though to his credit he’s been fighting some of the cream of the crop at 145lbs like Max Holloway, Frankie Edgar, Cub Swanson and Charles Oliveira, and took them all to the scorecards.
His two wins have also came against quality opposition in Renan Barao and Dennis Bermudez, so his record isn’t as bad as it seems at first glance.
Melendez Vs Stephens joins a UFC 215 that is still looking for a main event, with the biggest fight confirmed for it so far being a heavyweight encounter between Junior dos Santos and Francis Ngannou.