Current Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez (16-2) thinks he would be a great match up for long time holding, UFC lightweight champ, BJ Penn. It’s just too bad they are not on the same promotion.
However, Melendez currently is expected to face Shinya Aoki next. Aoki is a Japanese MMA star, and is fresh off of a controversial victory that has mixed responses from fans and the MMA industry itself, for breaking his opponents arm then flipping the opponent and then the crowd off.
Gilbert Melendez on BJ Penn:
“B.J.’s on another level. [But] I think I could do better than a lot of guys do against B.J. A lot of guys sit back and want to last with B.J. I’d rather get knocked out in the center of the ring and go for it, than sit back and try to figure it out. If things aren’t working, I’m going to charge B.J. and try to knock him out. It’s better than just running away and not being able to engage.”
If there were only more fighters in MMA/UFC with not only that attitude leading into a fight with Penn, but who could actually execute such a game plan when that caged door shuts behind them. BJ Penn is pretty notorious for stuffing his opponents game plans, and having them look like they do not belong in that cage with him, before the first round is over. Yet I feel Melendez could possibly be onto something.
Melendez is a fearless fighter, has been in some tough fights, and is the current champion so the question of nerves is obvious, he won’t be one of those guys that freezes come fight time. In the department of skill versus skill, well even Gilbert acknowledges that BJ is on a higher level, but that’s not to say Melendez wouldn’t be worthy of a shot against the UFC champ. I personally think he would do quite well, but a matter of would he win is highly questionable when you talk about anyone facing BJ Penn.
What do you guys think? Would Gilbert Melendez do well against BJ Penn?