According to Gilbert Melendez‘s trainer, Cesar Gracie, the UFC are in talks to have either former UFC lightweight champ BJ Penn or former WEC lightweight champ Anthony Pettis challenge his charge for his Strikeforce strap next.
Gracie informed TATAME of the development today.
“Melendez’s situation is complex right now. We still don’t have an opponent, date or place set. They said he could fight in San Jose but it’ll probably change. They mentioned Josh Thomson but then said it was not going to happen”, Gracie explained.“I spoke to [UFC matchmaker] Joe Silva and he told me maybe some UFC fighters will go to Strikeforce. We would really like to see him fighting Pettis or BJ, but we are still not sure about what’s going to happen.”
Given that “Showtime” mentioned yesterday that he is considering dropping down to featherweight to challenge Jose Aldo in the near future, it would seem that the UFC brass are leaning towards “The Prodigy” for the bout. It would make sense since Penn has been uncharacteristically mum about his fighting future since his last fight and likely would have been mulling over the offer to swing over to the UFC’s sister promotion, considering how much less promotion and exposure it gets.
Another name that has been mentioned as an opponent for “El Nino” is Tyson Griffin, who was quietly suspended by Zuffa for failing a post-fight drug test for marijuana after his UFC 123 loss to Nick Lentz. Although it would create an interesting storyline since Griffin once trained under Gracie before leaving for Xtreme Couture, it’s unlikely considering he is 1-4 in his last five outings and rumor has it he’s been dropped by the UFC.
We’ll have more news on Melendez’s next opponent as it becomes available.