Gilbert Melendez in 2009, at the weigh-in before the Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg event.
April 12, 1982 |
Santa Ana, California, United States
|Other names||El Niño
|Height||5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)|
|Weight||155 lb (70 kg; 11 st 1 lb)|
|Reach||71 in (180 cm)|
|Style||Wrestling, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu|
|Fighting out of||San Francisco, California|
|Team||Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu
El Niño Sports
|Rank||Brazilian Jiu-JitsuBrown belt in|
|Years active||2002 – present|
|Mixed martial arts record|
|Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog|
Gilbert Q. Melendez (born April 12, 1982) is an American mixed martial artist currently fighting out of San Francisco, California. He was the final Strikeforce Lightweight Champion and currently competes in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. He formerly competed in the lightweight division of PRIDE Fighting Championships. Melendez is ranked as the #2 lightweight fighter in the world by Sherdog.
Melendez, a Mexican-American, is from Santa Ana, California, and wrestled during high school. Melendez always enjoyed combat sports and competition, but did not start training in MMA until after college when he was introduced to the sport by his good friend and MMA fighter Jake Shields. Melendez attended San Francisco State University and was studying in liberal arts, he anticipated becoming a teacher but did not finish his college education and get a degree, on account of training for MMA and working outside of college. He has stated that someday he plans on finishing his college education. Before becoming a professional fighter, he worked as a waiter and he also had a job at a Fairtex gear shop, which would later be one of his sponsors.
Mixed martial arts career 
On August 15, 2009, Melendez was again set to rematch Josh Thomson at Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg but Thomson was not cleared to fight, due to lingering problems with his leg. Mitsuhiro Ishida was selected to replace Thomson in what became Melendez' first Interim title defense.
On December 19, 2009, Melendez fought Josh Thomson to unify the Strikeforce Lightweight Championship belts. Melendez won the fight via unanimous decision to become the Undisputed Lightweight Champion. With the win he also avenged the second of his only two losses to date.
A rematch between Melendez and Tatsuya Kawajiri took take place on April 9, 2011 at Strikeforce 33 in April. Melendez dominated his opponent showing excellent striking, knocking down Kawajiri with a right hand near the beginning of the fight. Melendez then again knocked down Kawajiri with a combination of knees to the body and a right hook followed by a right uppercut. The beginning of the end came when Melendez sprawled one of Kawajiri's takedowns and then began landing short left hands which knocked Kawajiri down into half-guard where Melendez began landing vicious right elbows before the referee stopped the fight declaring Melendez the winner by TKO 3:14 into the first round.
Melendez faced Jorge Masvidal next. UFC president Dana White briefly put the bout in question when he revealed to reporters that he was working to bring Gilbert Melendez into the UFC fold "ASAP" with the possibility of Melendez entering with an immediate shot at the belt. Melendez eventually defended his title against challenger Jorge Masvidal at Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal. He won the fight via unanimous decision.
Melendez took on Josh Thomson in a rubber match for the Strikeforce Lightweight Championship at Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier in San Jose, California on May 19, 2012. He won the fight via split decision. Fans did not agree with the decision and Josh Thomson was visibly disappointed by the decision. Booing immediately followed the decision and cont. throughout Melendez post fight interview. [Thomson] although not please with the decision showed class in defeat by asking the crowd to stop booing and support the local fighter.
Melendez was expected to face Pat Healy for the Strikeforce Lightweight Championship on September 29, 2012 in Sacramento, California. It was announced on September 22, 2012 that Melendez suffered an injury and had to withdraw from the fight. Due to Melendez' injury, Showtime opted not to air the card without the main event, thus causing Strikeforce to cancel the card becoming the second MMA card cancelled within a month under the Zuffa organization.
Ultimate Fighting Championship 
The Strikforce promotion was dissolved into the UFC by parent company Zuffa on January 12th 2013. Melendez received an immediate UFC title shot and made his promotional debut against Benson Henderson on April 20, 2013 at UFC on Fox 7. Melendez lost a split decision in a closely contested bout. 
Personal life 
Film and television 
Melendez starred alongside teammates Jake Shields and the Diaz brothers in the mixed martial arts documentary Fight Life, the film is directed by independent filmmaker James Z. Feng and produced by RiLL Films, it was released in the summer of 2011.
Championships and accomplishments 
Mixed martial arts 
- Strikeforce Lightweight Championship (Two times; last)
- Interim Strikeforce Lightweight Championship (One time)
- Most championship bouts in Strikeforce history (10)
- Most successful title defenses in Strikeforce history (6)
- Most consecutive title defenses in Strikeforce history (4)
- Most wins in Strikeforce history (11)
- Most significant strikes landed in Strikeforce history (749)
- International Fighting Championships
- IFC Night of Warriors Amateur Tournament Winner
- 2006 Lightweight of the Year
Mixed martial arts record 
|Professional record breakdown|
|24 matches||21 wins||3 losses|
See also 
- "Sherdog Official Mixed Martial Arts Rankings". Sherdog.com. 2013-4-28. Retrieved 2013-15-19.
- "http://www.fiveknuckles.com/mma-news/Gilbert-Melendez-vs-Josh-Thomson-confirmed-for-Strikeforce-Evolution-on-Dec-19.html". FiveKnuckles.com. Retrieved December 1, 2009.
- "Aoki-Melendez Signed for April 17 Strikeforce". sherdog.com. Retrieved 2010-03-01.
- "Nick Diaz and Gilbert Melendez Defend April 9". sports.yahoo.com.com. 2011-03-01.
- Gene Mrosko (2012-09-24). "Gilbert Melendez injured, Strikeforce cancels Sept. 29 event in Sacramento". mmamania.com. Retrieved 2012-09-24.
- Damon Martin (2012-11-27). "Gilbert Melendez Out; Jorge Masvidal vs. Pat Healy Likely for Final Strikeforce Show". mmaweekly.com. Retrieved 2012-11-27.
- Mike Chiapetta (2013-01-14). "UFC on FOX 7 targeted for Benson Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez lightweight title fight". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2013-01-14.
- "UFC's Gilbert Melendez says he took 'foot off the gas' but thought he still won the fight three rounds to two.". mmajunkie.com. April 21, 2012.
- "Keri Anne Taylor is MMA Gilbert Melendez’s Girlfriend". fabwags.com. Retrieved 2013.
- "FIGHT! Life: Gilbert Melendez - Baby Girl (VIDEO)". Fightmagazine.com. 2010-04-13. Retrieved 2010-04-14.
- "Is there such a thing as a PPV blackout based on region?". FIGHTOPINION.com. 2010-08-09. Retrieved 2010-11-24.
- Fight Life: MMA Documentary
- Professional MMA record for Gilbert Melendez from Sherdog
- Official Pride Website
- Gilbert Melendez' Myspace
- December, 2006 Interview
|Awards and achievements|
|New championship||1st WEC Lightweight Champion
May 21, 2004 – October 21, 2004
Melendez left WEC
Title next held byGabe Ruediger
|2nd Strikeforce Lightweight Champion
June 9, 2006 – June 27, 2008
|New championship||1st Strikeforce Interim Lightweight Champion
April 11, 2009 – December 19, 2009
|4th and final Strikeforce Lightweight Champion
December 19, 2009 – January 12, 2013
Strikeforce banner dissolved into UFC