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Cesar Gracie Says Pettis or Penn Might Challenge Melendez Next


(“No rematch for you, Punk”)

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.

Melendez confirmed in a recent interview that reps from Zuffa indicated that he would no longer be facing Josh Thomson, who was thought to be his next opponent.

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.

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Fletch the V Stretch- March 15, 2012 at 12:44 pm
At Hawaiian: What makes you so certain? Please do tell.
fightfan- March 15, 2012 at 4:20 am
What happened to the BJ that went 5 strong rounds vs Diego? I thought Diego said he didnt start falling till AFTER he lost the Penn fight. So I think it actually was a good win by BJ, rather than a shitty loss by Dieog(Hathaway) If that BJ shows up, trained and hungry, that is a scary BJ.
RwilsonR- March 14, 2012 at 7:13 pm
I'd like to see Gil vs Penn to get a good estimate of where they both stand right now, even though I know the outcome. Round 1 goes to Penn through superior speed and skill, rounds 2&3 go to Melendez due to BJ's shitty work ethic.
hawaiianlion15- March 14, 2012 at 6:05 pm
I live 80 steps from BJ's gym and see him during monday night gi classes. I'm almost 100% certain he won't be fighting Gil next.
skeletor- March 14, 2012 at 5:05 pm
It makes absolutely no sense to not have Gil in the UFC.
Get Off Me- March 14, 2012 at 4:31 pm
Showtime on Showtime.
Kid Clam Curtains- March 14, 2012 at 4:22 pm
Melendez/Penn is an amazing fight...especially since BJ tried to shit on Diaz after their fight and Diaz and Melendez are close friends.
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