After Saturday’s one sided dominating win from Josh Thomson over Gilbert Melendez, Melendez inclusion as one of the top 10 Lightweights in the world was brought into question. And we’d have to do the same for Thomson’s notable absence. Prior to Saturday night, Sherdog.com ranked Melendez 5th in the world and MMAweekly.com had him 6th, and Thomson was no where to be seen on either.
At 14-2, Melendez is certainly no push over, and likely will never be one who is easily beaten. However, ‘El Nino’ has dropped 2 of last 3 fights and on Saturday night he truly looked outclassed and completely outgame-planned. It’s not that the 26 year old isn’t a stud in the lightweight division – because he is. But Saturday night proved that he may not be ready for the high end praise that was summoned upon him leading up to New Years eve this year (where he dropped a decision to Mitsuhiro Ishida for his first ever defeat).
And let’s not take anything away from Thomson either. Here is a guy who is 15-2 and has won his last 7 fights. His two loses are from a hungry Clay Guida, who will give anyone problems in a 5 round fight and Yves Edwards, who at the time was running through everyone in the UFC’s lightweight division. Thomson said after he doesn’t think about rankings, but feels he is top 10 in the world. A contradictory statement to be sure, but the guy probably has a point. Maybe Thomson has done enough to push himself into the top 10 in the world.
Until there is an official santioning body for MMA rankings, Top 10’s will continue to mean very little. Fighters will continue to get big fights based on popularity, marketability and often less on skill sets and performance. Melendez will be back and better than before. He’s a young star, with a tremendous work ethic and a great group around him. And Thomson will continue to perform above critics expectations, as he had done throughout his 7 year career. However, I think it’s fair to say after Saturday, that Gilbert Melendez took a step back on his climb to be atop the world rankings, and ‘The Punk’ took about two steps forward.