When Gilbert Melendez faces Eddie Alvarez at the co-main event of UFC 188 in Mexico City, Mexico this weekend, it will be the end of a road which began — as Melendez tells the story — about eight years ago.
Alvarez, then competing at welterweight, scored an impressive TKO victory that night, at a BoDog Fights event in Costa Rica in 2007.
“I saw him fight and I was like ‘this dude is a banger’,” Melendez said to Fox Sports. “He eventually went to 155 and the moment he got on my radar was when I thought (us fighting) was a real possibility was when he was with Pro Elite, who he was fighting for at the time, had a joint promotion with Strikeforce.”
But a fight between the two didn’t happen, and Alvarez went on to fight in Japan’s DREAM promotion and then Bellator, while Melendez went from Strikeforce to UFC.
Of course, Alvarez signed with the UFC last year, and the match has finally been made. A war of words commenced, and Alvarez has, mostly, been the one on attack.
But Melendez seems happy to get in the cage and end all the talk.
“It’s put up or shut up time,” Melendez said. “It’s time for both of us to put up and get this done. There are just some guys you are destined to scrap with and I knew he was one of them. I look forward to it. I’ll do my talking in the cage. I might do a little more talking in the cage than I’ve done in a while.”