Originally written on 5thRound.com  |  Last updated 5/10/12

It appears reigning Strikeforce lightweight king Gilbert Melendez (Pictured) has accepted the fact he won’t be transitioning to the UFC anytime soon. Now that all hope is lost in making the big leagues, at least until Strikeforce’s guaranteed one-year extension with Showtime expires this December, Melendez has been forced to find new sources of motivation.

“I’ve kind of redone my goals a little bit,” Melendez shared during Thursday’s conference call. “Obviously to be the number one fighter in the world, you’ve got to be the UFC champ. It’s just the way it is. Right now, I’m just trying to put on shows and get better in this sport.

“I’m trying not to look at that anymore, [I'm] just trying to find different motivation like the paycheck, my team and my family. I’m going to be doing this for a long time. If I’m going to do this, I’m going to have fun.”

Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker was confident throughout today’s call that their partnership with Showtime will continue to be a long-lasting one. If Coker’s prediction holds true, “El Niño” won’t be storming off to the Octagon as he’s just 15 months into a multi-year contract extension to remain with the UFC’s little brother.

Melendez owns an impressive 20-2 professional record and has rattled off six consecutive victories. The 30-year-old is considered by most pundits as the planet’s top lightweight not competing in the UFC.

He looks to take the lead in his trilogy against Josh Thomson on May 19th inside HP Pavilion in San Jose, California. Win, lose or draw, expect several more fights inside the hexagon after that.

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