Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight titleholder, Anthony Pettis, has proven to be one of the most creative and talented strikers in all of mixed martial arts (MMA).
From his days competing in World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC), to his present title run inside the Octagon, "Showtime" has left behind a path of destruction thanks to his fierce striking.
One of the primary tools Pettis likes to use inside the cage are his kicks, which have flattened out the best of them including Ben Henderson, Joe Lauzon and Donald Cerrone.
But none of that seems to scare Gilbert Melendez, the man who will next try to dethrone the 155-pound kingpin when the two meet later this year.
According to Melendez, while he appreciates and recognizes Pettis as a creative striker, he feels he'll be able to walk right through his kicks to get inside and inflict his own damage.
His words to MMA Junkie:
"His striking and his kicks and his creativity is awesome, but it's nothing I fear at all. I feel quite confident in this match up. I feel like stylistically, this is a match up I've been wanting for a long time. I think he's a great guy and creative, but I'm not scared of those kicks at all. I feel I can walk right through them, to be honest. He's good at what he does, but I think I'm better in a bunch of different dimensions."
Indeed, Melendez has displayed great overall technique, but so too has Pettis, as evidenced by his first-round submission victory (video) over former UFC lightweight champion, Ben Henderson, at UFC 164.
During his "Fight of the Year" candidate against Diego Sanchez at UFC 166, Melendez showed that he is willing to stand in the pocket and go punch-for-punch.
With that said, the skill sets both men posses is a surefire recipe for a great scrap. But it won't happen until they fulfill their duties as opposing coaches on season 20 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF).
Anyone digging "El Nino's" confidence as he heads into a title fight against one of the most dangerous lightweight strikers in the game?