Gilbert Melendez is 30-years-old, holds a 21-2 career record, has won seven straight, has defeated every man he's ever squared off against, and is currently ranked number three in the world in the SB Nation/USA Today consensus rankings.
So why is it so damn hard to find him an opponent?
Melendez is a big, big fish in a little bitty pond, and as long as Strikeforce remains in existence, finding him credible challengers will remain a most difficult endeavor. In fact, from the sounds of it, Scott Coker has plans of pulling Pat Healy out of the heap and giving him a go at "El Nino."
"With Gilbert, we're going to take a look at what Pat Healy does next. We don't know who he's fighting next but we're going to definitely put him in there with someone tough to see how he does. By the time Gilbert fights again, either we're going to sign somebody to come in and fight him or we're going to take another look at Pat and see if he's the right guy."
With all due respect to Healy, is there no one better suited to challenge Melendez for his title? Is there no one Zuffa can sign to provide a compelling match-up that will satisfy not only Gilbert but fans, as well?
There most definitely is someone and his contract with Bellator is coming up soon. And Coker wants to talk to him.
"Come on over to Strikeforce, (Eddie Alvarez), let's do the Melendez fight. That would be fantastic. I think that he's a guy who is extremely talented that we would love to have in Strikeforce to fight Gilbert. It would be great. ... If he is a free agent and he is really free of any contractual relations, make the call. Eddie, come on down, let's put the Melendez fight together."
Melendez is coming off a hard-fought five-round split decision victory over Josh Thomson just this past May 19, 2012, in San Jose, California. It was close but brought an end to the trilogy no one asked for but was ultimately satisfied with, nontheless.
Alvarez, meanwhile, put his name back on everyone's lips when he utterly obliterated highly ranked DREAM champ Shinya Aoki in just over two minutes at Bellator 66 back in April.
Anyone hoping Strikeforce signs Alvarez in lieu of putting on Melendez vs. Healy?