“This is not an unfamiliar situation for me. I’ve been in this sport since 2003, top 10 in the world, fighting to fight the champion. I’m always one fight away from being in the No. 1 spot again or fighting for the title. What’s pretty crazy is that I am in this spot again. This is another chance for me to take advantage of an opportunity… Everybody knows I busted up Eddie Alvarez so it makes things interesting… I really feel like that’s the fight gods talking to me. Sometimes you think it’s been a long road in this sport and maybe it’s time to cash in on some big paydays so we take a different road. But I feel like these are the fight gods talking to me ‘Gilbert, you beat Eddie, he’s the champ, beat this guy, you still have it, you can still do it.’ These are the things I tell myself. These are the voices I hear and the feelings I get.”
-Gilbert Melendez talks to FoxSports.com about why Eddie Alvarez’s UFC Title win seems like a sign for his future in the division.
Penick’s Analysis: Melendez did indeed bust Alvarez up in their fight last year. Then he stopped fighting. He had every opportunity to win that fight given the damage he did early, but his failure to keep that offense up is what cost him. The failed drug test shortly thereafter hurt him badly as well, though he lucked out in that coming right before the implementation of USADA’s policy with the UFC or he’d have been out until next summer rather than this weekend. If he beats Edson Barboza, he’s right on the short list of potential challengers, and he could get that title fight rematch with Alvarez with another couple wins in the division.
[Photo (c) Joe Camporeale via USA Today Sports]
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