gilbert-melendezFor years, many considered Gilbert Melendez to be the best lightweight fighter in the world. He was the Strikeforce lightweight champion and even when Zuffa, the parent company to the Ultimate Fighting Championship purchased that promotion, was left there to compete with other Strikeforce challengers instead of moving to the UFC. Throughout his professional mixed martial arts career, he has had many memorable victories and a few close defeats.

Notable Wins

  • Strikeforce: Evolution – vs. Josh Thomson for unified Strikeforce Lightweight Championship

One of few men to have actually gotten a victory against Melendez had a chance to win a second fight against Melendez. The fight was to unify the Strikeforce lightweight crown, but Melendez was able to gain the win and take all the gold.

  • Strikeforce: Nashville – vs. Shinya Aoki for Strikeforce Lightweight Championship

The Japanese legend came to Strikeforce for a chance to compete for the lightweight title. These two fighters put on a great show for the MMA fans, but it was Melendez that claimed the unanimous decision victory to successfully defend his title.

  • Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier – vs. Josh Thomson for Strikeforce Lightweight Championship

For the third time in their careers, Melendez and Thomson faced off in the center of the Strikeforce cage. In what turned out to be the final fights of their Strikeforce careers, these two men put on a show and had the closest fight of their trilogy. In the end, it was Melendez that got the split decision win to retain the world title.

Notable Loss

  • UFC on Fox – vs. Benson Henderson for UFC Lightweight Championship

After his win against Thomson in his final Strikeforce fight, Melendez was welcomed to the UFC with a chance to compete for the ultimate prize in the lightweight division. The fight was held in his backyard, but although many people thought he won, two judges ruled it in favor of Henderson.