Strikeforce will hold a special media conference call today (Dec. 6, 2011) to promote Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal, which is scheduled to take place at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, California for Dec. 10, 2011.
Melendez is the current Strikeforce lightweight champion and is a top three ranked lightweight in the world. The Cesar Gracie fighter is coming off a dominant destruction of Tatsuya Kawajiri this past April and has hinted at potentially fighting in the UFC soon.
His challenger is rising prospect, Jorge Masvidal. "Gamebred" was awarded a title shot after dominating former EliteXC champion K.J. Noons in his last bout, which was a number one contender match in the promotion.
Cristiane Santos is the current Strikeforce women's 145 pound champion. She has had significant issues finding fights, most recently battling 20-1 underdog Jan Finney over a year ago. She signed a new contract with the promotion over the summer and is ready to prove she's the most violent female fighter in the world once again.
Lastly, Hiroko Yamanaka is one of the best female fighter in the world that you've never heard of. She has been dominant in Japan competing in the Jewels promotion and sports a 12-1 record which includes avenging her only career loss. She appears to be the best available option in the thin women's featherweight division.
We'll have complete updates of the Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal conference call after the jump:
Brian Hemminger here. The conference call is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. ET.
1:10 p.m. - We're ready to begin
Gilbert Melendez: Jorge isn't the most popular, but he's someone that's been in the circuit for a long time. He's tough and I'm looking forward to it. He looked really good against K.J. and he looked like he's finally adapting to the weight class. He's a complete MMA fighter.
Jorge Masvidal: It means a lot fighting for the championship and fighting a top guy. Fighting a top ranked guy is more important than anything to me.
Jorge Masvidal: Wherever the fight goes, I'll be ready. On the feet or on the ground, I'll be ready to fight.
Scott Coker: I think that things are going well and we'll have something to announce shortly but there's nothing official to announce right now (about the Showtime deal).
Gilbert Melendez: The goal is to be the UFC champ and the only way to do that is by getting the UFC title.
Jorge Masvidal: I know he's a solid fighter. That's all that matters to me. Train hard, train longer. It's five rounds, that's the only difference. Just go in there and do my job.
Gilbert Melendez: You get motivated when you're the underdog or when there's a lot of hype. A lot of people have been talking nonsense about Jorge, that he's no good. What's been the challenge for me has been motivating myself and this means a lot to myself. Not to fans, not to anybody, just to prove that, to defend my throne and I'm the big favorite here and if I can get past this and look real good, it'll mean more to me than to anyone else.
Cyborg Santos: It's gonna be difficult, but I'm gonna try to make the move because there's more work for me there (at 135 pounds). I want to fight in both categories if possible but I know there's more opportunities for me at 135.
Gilbert Melendez: If I have to beat five more people before that, so be it but the sooner the better. I've deserved a chance at the UFC title and if I can get it as soon as possible, that's great. I feel like I'm constantly proving myself in this MMA industry. It's inevitable.
Jorge Masvidal: When I say it's just another fight, I'm not dissing my opponent. It's just that at the end of the day, it's just another fight. Whatever happens afterwards happens. Wherever I make the most money is the best so obviously the UFC seems like the best option.
Gilbert Melendez: Jorge poses a lot of challenges. He's a great stand-up fighter. I don't want to talk gameplan but I'm gonna go out there and show it. My camp is readying me for every scenario. We both like to fight and that's what going to make a good fight.
Scott Coker: In the history of Strikeforce, I think we've put on some of the best fights in the history of MMA. There's still a lot of great fighters on the roster and we're gonna keep building the fighters and that's not gonna change. Everybody can tune into Showtime and watch in 2012 and we'll put on amazing fights.
Hiroko Yamanaka: I don't feel like I'm overlooked or anything. The only thing I have in my mind is to win this fight. That's all.
Hiroko Yamanaka: I do feel like my experience will benefit with me. I have a lot of good experience and it will help me in this fight.
Scott Coker: We're committed to those two weight classes. Female fighting on Showtime has done very well ratings wise, even outdrawing some of the male fights. We're going to continue scouring the planet looking for the top girls. There will be more fights for Chris in the future at 135 and 145.
Cyborg Santos: I feel I've gotten better at jiu-jitsu. I've stayed competitive at that aspect. I feel I'm better well-rounded than I was before.
Hiroko Yamanaka: I'm just planning on winning this fight. I'm going to walk out of the cage with my championship belt.
Gilbert Melendez: I think if I get past Jorge, if I stay in Strikeforce, no, I don't see challenges there. I think I've done my thing there. i think Jorge is the number one contender and he's a super tough dude. That's who I'm focused on right now and I haven't even checked anyone out. It would be cool if they brought some UFC fighters to Strikeforce. It doesn't matter if it's a UFC or Strikeforce fighter, I just want a top fighter. Coker brought me Aoki, he brought me Kawajiri. I can't think of anyone on the roster, but just when I think I don't have a challenger in front of me, Scott always pulls someone out and gives me a challenge. There's a lot of top fighters out there.
Gilbert Melendez: All my teammates train with elbows. Jake was a pioneer in ground and pound with elbows so elbows have always been something in the back of my mind. Even in training, in my mind I was thinking, "I can elbow this guy right now." It wasn't just because Strikeforce didn't allow elbows that I ruled it out. I'm happy they're there because elbows are real effective. Sometimes they cut people and end fights early but I showed I can actually end fights with elbows. I used to fight in Hawaii, in Pride with foot stomps and knees to the head. I like to do all that stuff so I'm happy with the elbows and I love the unified rules. It's fun to have those.
Gilbert Melendez: I think in any of his losses, Jorge wasn't as motivated sometime but this is a fight where he'll be looking to make a name for himself. I'm anticipating he did everything he can do to get ready. I'm sure he saw what I did in my last fight and he took it into consideration.
Gilbert Melendez: These contracts, they're meant for us fighters not to understand them. I have a lawyer and hopefully these guys can get a deal and get it going. That's all I can really say about that. I do have a multifight with Strikeforce and I'm happy with Strikeforce. I don't know what can be done but I'm sure these guys have the power to do whatever they want.
Scott Coker: Obviously, we can't get into legal verbage about what's in the contract and what's not.
Gilbert Melendez: I'm not trying to sound perfect but I don't have time to be negative. I'm grateful to be the main event on Showtime. I've got nothing to complain about to be honest. I'm blessed and there's nothing to bitch about.
Scott Coker: We don't have anything to announce on the January 7th fight card, there's still some issues pending.
Scott Coker: Right now we have more people working on Strikeforce than we ever head. They have a very good machine and if it does happen, we're gonna go for it and promote the heck out of it. The timeframe, the most important thing for the event is the last six weeks if you're promoting.
Scott Coker: I still predict that the final will happen in the late part of the first quarter. We'd like to get the fight done by the first quarter 2012. We're waiting on Daniel Cormier's recovery for his right hand to see how his hand's feeling. We're hoping for March.
Cyborg Santos: It works both ways. You can acquire prestige in the sport by working hard and fighting hard.
That's the end of the call, thanks for tuning in guys!