At least, not yet.
That's because the promotion today announced that he will instead defend his 155-pound strap against Jorge Masvidal on Dec. 17 in San Diego, California.
From the Striketweet:
Sorry to keep you waiting folks! @GilbertMelendez WILL be defending his title vs @GamebredFighter in San Diego on Dec. 17. Tix on sale Sat!
Melendez (19-2) hasn't seen the inside of a cage since a successful title defense against Japanese "Crusher," Tatsuya Kawajiri back in April. That win marked "El Nino's" fifth in a row and created a matchmaking conundrum for his Zuffa employers.
After coming up short in a unanimous decision loss to Paul "Semtex" Daley under the Shark Fights banner, "Gamebred" (22-6) made a successful Strikeforce debut opposite Billy Evangelista back in March, punching his way to a sweep on the judges' scorecards despite a less-than-enthusiastic response from the Columbus crowd.
The Bellator and Sengoku veteran turned that around and staked his claim to the Melendez throne with his impressive win over K.J. Noons, a former pro boxer, earlier this year.
But was it enough to convince you he can steal the strap? Or is Melendez on another level? And how disappointed are you that he's not fighting "The Answer?"