On December 8, 2012 UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson defended his belt against Nate Diaz at UFC on FOX 5 in Seattle, Washington.
With the demise of Strikeforce and their last event happening on January 12, the Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez will make the move over to the UFC. UFC President Dana White has made it clear that there is a distinct possibility of Melendez being granted an immediate title shot upon entering the organization.
Melendez (21-2) spoke to Middle Easy about who he would like to fight and he gave props to Henderson, but wants to ‘avenge’ his team and homie Nate Diaz.
“Benson is an amazing fighter, tough guy. Initially I wasn’t too impressed with his WEC days, but as soon he made his first appearance in the UFC, in I think Toronto, Canada against Bocek, I was really impressed. I’ve seen him improving ever fight since. He is an impressive guy, but I match up very well with him, and I think I can beat him. You’re hurt because your buddy lost, and I feel like Nate (Diaz) didn’t perform his best. He had some things going on. Benson did pop him in the eye. You want to whip the dudes ass, you want to beat him up. You want to avenge your team, avenge your homie, but much respect to the guy. Nothing personal, but you want a piece of him.”
The Cesar Gracie fighter last fought back in May of 2012 when he beat Josh Thomson and defended his lightweight title for the fourth time. He was expected to take on Pat Healy on September 29, however that card was cancelled due to an injury to Melendez.