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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
Gilbert Melendez is in a tough spot as one of the top names in Strikeforce. Long believed to be one of the top lightweight fighters in the world, he's left facing lesser competition than his UFC counterparts, giving him less opportunity to prove his status as the best in the world.
Because of that, he cited a lack of motivation in a less than spectacular performance in his most recent bout with Josh Thomson. However, he maintains that Thomson was simply a special case, and a feud he thought he had moved past.
"It's a little tough getting up for these fights but more tough getting up for Josh Thomson, a real tough guy and a guy that you never look forward to fighting and you'd thought you'd moved passed it," Melendez said in an interview with Sherdog.com. "I'm just glad that's over with. But someone like [Pat] Healy, I think that could be pretty interesting."
Melendez understands the position he's in, but he insists that he's happy with his role in Strikeforce and Showtime, and won't let his spot keep him from being ready for his next fight.
"As of now I'm just going to have to deal with the criticism," he said. "I'm damned if I do, damned if I don't in my situation right now. I don't even want to preach that I'm the number one fighter in the world anymore. I just want to go do my thing in Strikeforce, and if somehow that opportunity comes up where I can prove it and fight some of the top talent, then I'm definitely up for it. But as of now, I'm going to be doing my thing here. I'm happy with Strikeforce and I'm happy with Showtime overall. Just sometimes you want different talent, but I'm happy overall."
"It's tough, man, but right now at least I know I'm going to be in Strikeforce. It was a little more tough when you think you might be going and you don't know what's going on. You have hopes. You have mixed emotions. Now I know I'm in Strikeforce and I know what I'm dealing with. I'm going to be up for my next fight. I'm going to be up for it."
Penick's Analysis: A lot has been said about Melendez's spot in Strikeforce recently. He'd like to face off against top competition, but it's just not going to happen while he's in Strikeforce. If he's resigned himself to that fact for the time being, perhaps we'll see him just get through the competition he will be matched up against. He needs to find a way to be content with his spot, because it won't be changed anytime soon. If he's done that, then he can simply go about his business.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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