Good news, Gilbert Melendez fans.
"El Nino" has come to terms with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) on a new fight contract that will see the former Strikeforce champion continue to compete inside the world-famous Octagon for the foreseeable future.
The news comes on the heels of the announcement that Melendez had come to terms with Bellator after initial talks with UFC went south in a hurry. Obviously, the second round of negotiations -- that included an exclusive match clause ... and not Dana White -- went much, much better.
While exact details weren't revealed, a coaching spot on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 20 and a subsequent title fight against lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, were too good to pass up.
From the official press release:
The Ultimate Fighting Championship announced tonight that No. 2 ranked lightweight contender Gilbert Melendez has agreed to a new contract with the organization. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Melendez will now coach against UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis on season 20 of The Ultimate Fighter. The two will then meet for the UFC lightweight title later this year. The show, which will begin filming in May and premiere on FOX Sports 1 on Sept. 10, features the launch of the UFC women's 115-pound weight class. The winner of this season of The Ultimate Fighter® will be crowned the UFC strawweight division's inaugural champion.
Melendez was last seen going toe-to-toe against Diego Sanchez for 15 minutes at UFC 166 last October in one of the best fights of 2013 (highlights). In the end, Gilbert received the unanimous decision and and a "Fight of the Night" bonus check to boot.
Prior to that, "El Nino" came up short against then-lightweight champion Ben Henderson at UFC on FOX 7.
As for Pettis, the coaching stint on TUF will likely give him extra time to rehab his injured knee, an injury which forced him out of his first-ever title defense (details) against Josh Thomson at UFC on FOX 9.
And given the past beef Pettis has had with Gilbert's teammate Nate Diaz (read it) and members of his entourage, it will be interesting to see how the two camps interact with one another during the filming of the show.
It can't get any worse than this, Or can it?