Originally written on 5thRound.com  |  Last updated 12/9/12
After 17 UFC fights, Nate Diaz (Pictured) finally got to taste a championship fight. Although Diaz came up short in Saturday’s title bout against reigning lightweight champ Benson Henderson, he believes his Gracie Jiu Jitsu homie and current Strikeforce 155-pound king Gilbert Melendez would take it to “Smooth” and likely take his belt in the process. “[Gilbert's] got the most perfect record, beat all the best guys, and I think that he’s the next guy in line,” Diaz stated at the post-fight press conference. “It’s not my call, but if not, he’s coming for him. Watch out.” Of course, there’s the minor formality of Melendez’s current employer closing its doors after their January 12th show. However, Strikeforce’s finale is all but a done deal – at least if you were to believe the trusty rumor mill. Perhaps the biggest concern currently surrounding “El Nino” is the condition of the injured shoulder that has forced him out of two consecutive title defenses. Boasting a dominant 21-2 professional record, Melendez has long been considered the baddest lightweight not competing in the UFC. The 30-year-old hasn’t been seen since beating Josh Thomson in May. As far as who Henderson believes should get next dibs at his crown, he couldn’t care less. Like a true toothpick-chewing champion, he lives by the, “Anywhere, any place, anytime” mentality.
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