trikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez (20-2 MMA, 10-1 SF) will fight at the organization's recently announced May 19 event.
Against whom? That's a good question.
However, one of Melendez's coaches, Cesar Gracie, has two suggestions: current UFC fighters B.J. Penn or Anthony Pettis.
However, multiple sources told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
) no opponent has been determined as of yet. Additionally, the champ's manager, Gil Melendez Sr., declined comment. But today on Twitter, Gracie stated, "I hope (it's) Penn or Pettis."
UFC president Dana White recently opened the door for the possibility of current UFC fighters moving to their sister promotion, but as of now, no major names have joined Strikeforce. Pettis recently saw a planned title fight with new champ Benson Henderson instead given to Frankie Edgar, and Penn hinted at retirement following a welterweight loss to Nick Diaz in October that moved him to 1-3-1 in his past five fights.
Additionally, there are some deserving contenders already under Strikeforce contract. For example, Josh Thomson recently defeated K.J. Noons in what many believed was a No. 1 contender's fight, and Pat Healy has moved into contention with four consecutive Strikeforce wins. However, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker wouldn't confirm after the fighters' March 3 wins that either is next in line for a shot at Melendez's belt.
As MMAjunkie.com recently reported, the May 19 Strikeforce event is likely to take place at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. Melendez's title fight would be part of the Showtime-televised main card that also includes the Daniel Cormier vs. Josh Barnett heavyweight-grand-prix finale.
Melendez, who's one of the top fighters not currently fighting in the UFC, made his third consecutive title defense with a unanimous-decision victory over Jorge Masvidal in December. He's now 7-1 in his past eight fights. The lone loss came in a 2008 title fight with Thomson, though Melendez avenged the defeat a year later as part of his current six-fight win streak.