Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez (19-2) may soon find himself the latest casualty of UFC poaching. According to UFC President Dana White, the top-ranked lightweight is the promotion's latest target and could be quickly nearing his last fight under the Strikeforce banner.
"We do want to bring Gilbert Melendez over and we're looking at it right now. And (Fabricio) Werdum," White said at the UFC on Versus 6 post-fight press conference. "We're looking at bringing Gilbert Melendez over ASAP."
Melendez has served as the Strikeforce champion for a majority of the last six years after initially claiming the title in 2006, during which time the 29-year-old has won nine out of eleven bouts, including a current run of five straight that propelled the Cesar Gracie product to the top of the 155-pound rankings. He's now set to defend his title against upstart Floridian Jorge Masvidal in mid-December. Should he emerge victorious, White mulled the prospect of an instant title shot against the winner of Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard.
"The thing is with that division, it's so stacked, there's a lot of possibilities," the UFC president explained. "Usually timing has a lot to do with it. We'll see what happens with the timing."
No official timetable has been set for the move, but White made it clear that it would come sooner, rather than later. MMA Nation Editor-In-Chief Luke Thomas recorded the announcement below, live from the post-fight press conference in Washington D.C.