This past weekend (Sat., July 6, 2019) at UFC 239, Gilbert Melendez suffered his fifth straight loss inside the Octagon, coming up short to Arnold Allen in what was a rather entertaining Featherweight scrap. At the end of 15 minutes, though, judges were convinced Allen had done enough to take home the unanimous decision, giving “El Nino” the longest losing streak of his 17-year combat career.
A few days removed from the fight, Melendez took to social media to issue a statement regarding the defeat and his fight future. And while he didn’t call it a day, it sounds like we won’t see him inside the Octagon for a bit.
“Huge thanks to my team and all my loyal followers. You guys will never know how much your support has meant to me over the years. Things didn’t go my way but when you have the opportunity to chase a great moment or take on a challenge I suggest you face it and go for it,” Melendez wrote.
“Even in defeat I know this experience will help me grow as a martial artist and as a person,” the former Strikeforce champion added. “At the end of the day I am happy, I am blessed, I am healthy, I am loved, I leveled up and I had a dang great time out there competing!!! Arnold is a great competitor, is a difficult target to find in the cage and I wish him the best in his fighting future.
“As for me I’m looking forward to now investing more of my time into my team and of course I will continue my studies as a student of martial arts,” he continued. “The journey will continue for #teamElNiño and the #skrappack because we are deep.”
Melendez was already coming off a long layoff — his fight against Arnold was his first in nearly two years. Prior to that, “El Nino” suffered losses to a Murderers’ Row of 145- and 155- pound studs such as former champions Anthony Pettis and Eddie Alvarez, as well as Jeremy Stephens and Edson Barboza.
Still, he won’t be a couch potato during his time off as he has several obligations away from the cage that will keep him busy including his gym, family, as well as his ESPN duties. Whether or not he officially calls it a day or mounts a comeback later on down the road, remains to be seen.