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Gilbert Melendez contemplating drop to featherweight, eyes UFC title shot

CBS' Strikeforce MMA Fighters Open Media Workout Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images

When former Strikeforce 155-pound Champion Gilbert Melendez said goodbye to Scott Coker and Co. to ply his trade for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), “El Nino” was ranked No. 1 in the world, second only to then-lightweight titleholder Benson Henderson.

Fast forward nearly four years and Melendez, 34, can’t even crack the top 10.

That’s because the longtime “Skrap Pack” member has been unable to find the win column in his last three outings, dropping four of his last five and managing just one victory inside the Octagon.

Which is why Melendez told MMA Junkie he’s contemplating a drop to 145 pounds.

“Until I book a fight at 145, I can’t really confirm that, but yeah, that’s my goal right now. I’m trying to slim up. I’m really trying to diet and lose this fat around the belly a little bit more and really maximize my body’s potential. Once I get to that point, which should be in the next few weeks, I’ll really be able to make that jump and make that big decision. That’s my goal, is to make 145. That’s what I’m working on right now at this point.”

Gilbert Melendez vs. Frankie Edgar? I’d watch.

Melendez (22-6) is perhaps best known for his wars against Josh Thomson in Strikeforce; however, his 2013 win over Diego Sanchez was widely considered one of the best lightweight fights of all time.

Can he replicate that success in the featherweight division and pursue what he calls “one last title run” before calling it quits?

Time will tell.

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