Gilbert Melendez will take on lightweight champion Benson Henderson on UFC on Fox 7 for the title belt.
Melendez is a fighter who has been around the block in just about every MMA promotion there is today. Now he gets the chance to take on the UFC, and it’s only now that he’s really getting recognition for all that he’s done.Once you slap the UFC name on something and it’s all of a sudden becomes important to others.
“It’s crazy. I’ve done a lot in the sport. Still, you don’t get the credit until you’re a part of the UFC brand,” Melendez said.
He does say that it feels good to be apart of the UFC brand and to feel respected enough to have a shot at the UFC title.
Many will say that his upcoming opponent, Benson Henderson, is the toughest he’s had to deal with yet. Henderson’s skill set is diverse and unpredictable at times. But Melendez thinks otherwise:
“He doesn’t have the most devastating striking, the most devastating wrestling and grappling, but he transitions well and he’s a real mixed martial artist. What he does best is he can put everything together really well. A lot of guys are a little more predictable or do a certain strength and he’s a guy that puts it together.”
Melendez has something that other fighters that have gone up against Henderson didn’t, Josh Thomson. This guy fights like Henderson, he “puts it together” like him.
“I have been fighting Josh Thomson quite a bit. He’s actually a guy like that as well, a real well-rounded mixed martial artist. People usually have their strengths and Josh Thomson and him are guys that I feel are really good at putting it all together,”
This is all good for Melendez and his training, but none of us will actually know how it stands up to the real thing until April 20th. Melendez can’t say that he sees Henderson’s tells exactly but there are certain things he’s been finding, “the way he circles, the way he plays with his hair. There’s a couple things I do see and that I want to capitalize on.”
He knows Henderson has that big kick, he just doesn’t know when it’s coming. “I’m not scared of the kick. I’m not scared of the takedown. I’m going to meet him head-on.”