Cesar Gracie wants Gilbert Melendez to fight BJ Penn or Anthony Pettis

via ironforgesiron.com

Is Cesar Gracie trying to "Punk" Josh Thomson?

The longtime mixed martial arts (MMA) trainer, who keeps charge over current and former Strikeforce champions Nick Diaz, Jake Shields and Gilbert Melendez, is already ruling out a trilogy between "El Nino" and Thomson.

According to Gracie, the reigning 155-pound champion (and winner of six straight) has bigger fish to fry.

Namely former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight Champion B.J. Penn, or if "The Prodigy" is not available, the last man to hold the World Extreme Cagefighting title, Anthony Pettis.

Gracie breaks it all down for Tatame.com, after the jump.

"Melendez’s situation is complex right now. We still don’t have an opponent, date or place set. They said he could fight in San Jose but it’ll probably change. They mentioned Josh Thomson but then said it was not going to happen. It depends on the relationship between Dana White (UFC president) and Showtime (TV channel that broadcasts and managers Strikeforce). That’s the problem. I spoke to Joe Silva (UFC’s matchmaker) and he told me maybe some UFC fighters will go to Strikeforce. We would really like to see him fighting Pettis or BJ, but we are still not sure about what’s going to happen."

With the Showtime network calling most of the shots in Strikeforce, it may be difficult to snatch Melendez from the 155-pound ranks and insert him into the division title chase under the UFC banner. However, if his star pupil can't go to the UFC, perhaps the UFC can come to him.

B.J. Penn inside the Hexagon?

Stranger things have happened. Then again, Gracie is known for his politics and ability to talk his way into favorable situations. The MMA fanbase isn't exactly screaming for Melendez vs. Thomson II, despite "The Punk's" victory over K.J. Noons earlier this month.

It may just be a question of striking while the iron is hot.

We know how Gracie feels, but who do you, as a fan, want to see Melendez fight next?

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