UFC 166: Gilbert Melendez plans to make a statement against Diego Sanchez in first ‘uncrowned’ title defense

USA TODAY Sports

Gilbert Melendez is still irked by losing a split decision to former lightweight champion Ben Henderson at UFC on FOX 7 and plans to make a statement by besting Diego Sanchez at UFC 166 this weekend (Oct. 19, 2013) in a fight “El Nino” says should be his first title defense.

After finally making his long-awaited Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debut last April, former Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez failed to make the splash he was hoping for at UFC on FOX 7 against then 155-pound kingpin Ben Henderson.

Aside from not winning the title, "El Nino's" seven-fight win streak vanished thanks to the judges, who felt "Smooth" did just enough to earn the split-decision victory in San Jose, California.

Of course, if you ask Melendez, he feels he won the fight and should have been crowned champion that night.

And as he attempts to get back into the win column against Diego Sanchez this weekend (Oct. 19, 2013) at UFC 166 in Houston, Texas, Gilbert tells Sherdog he plans to make a statement by besting "The Dream" in what he calls his first "uncrowned" title defense.

"El Nino" breaks it down:

"I'm looking to make a statement here. I'm looking to make my first uncrowned title defense and really make a statement. I think Diego is a great fighter but me being at my best I think I can make a statement with a dominant performance."

It'll be easier said than done as Melendez recognizes Diego's skills as a well-round mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter. But as "good" as Sanchez is, "El Nino" is greater than him everywhere.

He explains:

"I think he's a great fighter, honestly. I think he's a pioneer in this sport for sure and he brings a lot of honor, courage and heart into the cage and that goes a long way in the sport. 90-percent of it is that mental stuff everyone talks about. And if there is anything that he has, it is that. Technique-wise, he has something everywhere. He's a good wrestler, great grappler and not that he's weak at striking, I just think that's the least of his things, that's third. Grappling, wrestling and then striking. He's a good MMA fighter, he's good everywhere but I am confident in my skills and I think I'm great. I think he's good and I think I'm great."

Diego looks to make it two wins in a row in "H-Town," winning a very controversial split decision over Takanori Gomi earlier this year at UFC on FUEL TV 8.

As both men look to get that all-important "W," at the end of the day, the fans will likely be the winners as the scrappy lightweights have the track record as proven entertainers once the cage door slams shut.

This one should be a doozy, folks.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join MMAmania.com

You must be a member of MMAmania.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at MMAmania.com. You should read them.

Join MMAmania.com

You must be a member of MMAmania.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at MMAmania.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_5349_tracker