Or so says Strikeforce CEO and General Manager Scott Coker, who is, admittedly enough, not an unbiased observer.
"I believe (Melendez) is the number one lightweight in the world. Believe me, those other guys, I take nothing away from them. Listen, styles make fights, and I'm really looking at Frankie Edgar and Gilbert, that match-up as to who would win that fight and how that fight would look. Ben Henderson, Cowboy Cerrone, all those guys are extremely talented, but like I said, styles make fights. I think Gilbert and Frankie would be a great fight, but I think Gilbert would come out on top."
It's an intriguing match-up. Melendez is 20-2 in his fighting career, and has avenged both losses. Edgar is 14-1-1 and has avenged the lone defeat of his career. Both are titleholders in their weight class in different promotions but Edgar surely holds the edge in strength of schedule.
His finding "the answer" to B.J. Penn in back-to-back bouts is still one of the more impressive feats in MMA.
The unfortunate issue in all this is that Strikeforce just recently re-upped with Showtime to continue broadcasting events on the network. The promotion needs a face and that honor has been given to Melendez. That means no superfights against Edgar, who is preoccupied, anyway. He's got a tough match-up against Ben Henderson coming up on Feb. 26 at UFC 144 in Japan.
"El Nino" has said he'll be there, though, always watching and wondering when he'll get his chance to prove Coker correct. If that day ever comes, Maniacs, who are you putting your money on?
Melendez or Edgar?