Found December 18, 2011 on Fox Sports:
Is Gilbert Melendez a good fighter? Before his victory over Jorge Masvidal in Saturday night's Strikeforce event in San Diego, that fact was undisputable. He was the second-best fighter in the world at lightweight and was an absolute wrecking machine so far; Masvidal was a bump on the road that probably was going to be finished early and violently. Five rounds later and a unanimous decision in his favor, Melendez moves on to his next title defense. And one imagines that once he gets alone in his locker room, contemplating that title defense, he'll do what Alexander the Great did because now he's seen the breadth of his domain. And he'll weep because there are no more worlds to conquer in the Strikeforce lightweight division. You can't downgrade Melendez after this fight, realistically, because he did thoroughly dominate a fighter below his caliber for 25 minutes. Melendez didn't finish Masvidal, far from it, but he beat him and beat him convincingly. You really can't fault him for that but the story that's going to be slowly creeping out after this victory is that Melendez is overrated. Perhaps he'll be downgraded from his perch as the No. 1 or No. 2 lightweight in the world for it by some as well; it's an easy argument to make that if Frankie Edgar did the same thing to Masvidal that Melendez did that it'd be hard to justify him as the No. 1 fighter in the world. And it's also the correct one. Why? Because we don't know how good Melendez is until he fights UFC-caliber competition on a regular basis. At this point there's no one in the Strikeforce lightweight division that'll pose any more of a challenge than Masvidal will. Outside of a fluke upset, which seems rarer the more Melendez fights, no one is going to push Melendez as the top of the UFC food chain will. When you contemplate who he ought to fight next, a handful of fighters come up. Melvin Guillard could make for a fun fight, as could Donald Cerrone, Gray Maynard and a handful of other fighters that aren't in the crowded UFC lightweight title picture. And the problem is that none of them are in Strikeforce right now, which is where Melendez resides. Every true challenge to Melendez isn't in Strikeforce and while a fight against someone like Ryan Couture would have some name value, and there are fighters in the division who could merit a title shot, Melendez defending the Strikeforce title against someone like Josh Thompson doesn't show us anything about Melendez that we don't already know. Melendez owns some quality victories over the years; he notched a split decision over Clay Guida five years ago, as well as Shinya Aoki and Tatsuya Kawajiri over the past 18 months, but his resume of victories is thin in comparison to other fighters in the division. If you did some MMA math he shouldn't be considered anywhere near the same category as someone like Edgar, Maynard or even someone like Kenny Florian. He has enough quality victories recently to be considered that good in both the division and pound-for-pound rankings, obviously, but his fight with Masvidal has added one thing to his perception. Doubt. And until Melendez gets quality opponents who are truly in the top five in the world, that notion is going to increase slowly but surely. If he loses to someone it'll justify all the doubts that are going to slowly creep up. "El Nino" needs a change in his diet from the best of the rest to the best of the best. He's grown past the division and the title and we need to know whether or not he's the best lightweight in the world like many think he is.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Gilbert Melendez Defends Strikeforce Belt

Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez successfully defended his title Saturday against challenger Jorge Masvidal. Melendez was rarely challenged in the main event, shown on Showtime, with Masvidal failing to exploit his reach advantage and the champ, also known as “El Nino” showcasing his superior skills on his way to winning a unanimous decision. The...

Strikeforce’s Three Stars: Santos, Bowling and Melendez

In a month packed with fights, Strikeforce still managed to stick out with memorable decisions and fast knockouts. Here are Cagewriter's Three Stars from Saturday night's fights; tell us yours in the comments or on Facebook. No. 1 -- Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos: She was out of the cage for 18 months, then only needed 13 seconds to defender the Strikeforce featherweight...

Gilbert Melendez “I am not scared of anyone’s striking now”

Gilbert Melendez successfully defended his Strikeforce lightweight title Saturday night against tough counter striker Jorge Masvidal. In this exclusive interview, Melendez speaks to Marcos Villegas about his victory and how he is now confident he cant stand with anyone at lightweight in MMA.

“Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal” Results and Coverage

“Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal” takes place Saturday inside the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, California. The first preliminary bout is scheduled to start at approximately 8PM ET/5PM PT. Make sure to stay with 5thRound.com all night for our live coverage. Showtime will broadcast the main bouts beginning at 10:30PM ET/PT. Saturday’s show will feature a pair of...

“Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal” Results and Recap

“Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal” took place Saturday night inside the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, California. Despite having a pair of championship affairs headline the Showtime broadcast, the card didn’t garner much hoopla. One would think Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos (Pictured) doesn’t like being in the hexagon all that much. The women’s reigning featherweight...

Gilbert Melendez vs. Jorge Masvidal Fight Video Strikeforce

Champion Gilbert Melendez vs. Jorge Masvidal for the Strikeforce lightweight title.

Strikeforce 37: Gilbert Melendez Vs. Jorge Masvidal

Strikeforce 37: Gilbert Melendez Vs. Jorge Masvidal

Strikeforce Live Results and Play-by-Play (8 p.m. ET)

Sherdog.com will report from the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego at approximately 8 p.m. ET with play-by-play and live results of Strikeforce “Melendez vs. Masvidal,” which is headlined by a lightweight title showdown pitting champion Gilbert Melendez against challenger Jorge Masvidal.
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.