Gilbert Melendez has two goals heading into his title fight against Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight Champion Ben Henderson at UFC on FOX 7 on April 20, 2013.
Aside from claiming the division title, "El Nino" hopes to avenge the loss of his teammate, Nate Diaz, who came up short against "Smooth" at UFC on FOX 5 last December in Seattle, Washington, in his own quest for UFC gold.
And while winning the title in San Jose, Calif., is the ultimate prize, Melendez will step into the Octagon with "revenge" on his mind as he recently declared at this week's UFC on FOX 7 media conference call.
"Of course, I'd love to avenge my friend. I'd love to get revenge for my team, and yeah, you know, I got to see firsthand what Benson's all about, front row. Of course, I would love to bring that belt back to my teammates."
Though Gilbert has been regarded as one of the best 155-pound mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters in the world, he has often had to take a back seat to the UFC champs. After competing all over the world against various champions for different organizations, he says he will finally get to prove he is top dog by taking out the world's current number one lightweight:
"Champion vs. champion is a neat thing for me, but I feel like in this case, Benson's the champ and I'm coming into the Octagon in a new organization. I fought the Dream champ, I fought the Shooto champ and I fought a lot of different champs. It's a neat opportunity for me, I'm definitely prepared, and I'm looking forward to the opportunity. For a long time I've been trying to prove I'm number one, and this is my opportunity, so I want to take advantage of it."
It will be easier said than done as the former Strikeforce champion witnessed firsthand during Nate's fight in "The Emerald City" just what kind of dangers Henderson poses and how much punishment he is capable of inflicting.
And you can bet Benson will look to add another notch on his belt on his way to surpassing UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva's all-time title defenses at the expense of Melendez.
How about it Maniacs, who do you think will leave the "Shark Tank" the undisputed lightweight champion of the world once the dust settles in sunny California?
Henderson or Melendez?