After Josh Thomson’s self-labeled “sh*t” performance against K.J. Noons in early March, fans’ fervor picked up surrounding the possibility of a top-tier UFC lightweight coming in to challenge Gilbert Melendez for his Strikeforce title. However, in the end Thomson still received the shot and the public’s excitement turned to mild disappointment.
It turns out MMA enthusiasts were not the only individuals bummed out by Zuffa’s decision to go with Thomson, as even Melendez has now come forward to express his own frustration with the match-up.
“I was hoping for something better, for some top talent, and it didn’t work out. Something to raise my stock,” said Melendez in an interview with MMAJunkie Radio. “You want to be the #1 guy, and right now, it seems like it’s put on hold for a minute.”
Though Thomson and Melendez will be settling a trilogy on May 19 when they mix it up, each of the previous bouts also involving the divisional belt, “The Punk” is only one win removed from a decision loss to Tatsuya Kawajiri and has struggled with health issues for the past few years. With the matchmaking out of his control Melendez has decided to keep his mind on the things that are within his power to affect.
“I’ve just got to have fun, do what I do, and stay focused on kicking butt,” the 20-2 title-holder concluded.
PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE
MMATraining Take: It’s unfortunate to see a guy in the prime of his career forced to sit around in hopes of saving a sinking ship the captains don’t even seem to care about bailing out. All it would have taken was Clay Guida or Gray Maynard to inject some life into the Strikeforce brand but alas we got the conclusion to a friendly rivalry that’s been dead in fans’ minds for years.