"I'm excited that it's new blood. I'm definitely embracing Strikeforce, and its owned by Zuffa now and I'm pumped about it. I think he is a tough fighter and it's going to make for an entertaining fight for me... I'm looking forward to fighting, having fun with it, and making a statement... I think I'm better everywhere. I think I'm a better striker, athlete, better grappler, wrestler, and as long as I'm on point, I should show it out there," stated Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez, who talked about his upcoming September 29th title defense against Pat Healy. Check out what else he had to say!
PC: How has everything been, Gil?
GM: So far so good. I've been training with Jake Shields and he's a big boy and that's hard for me to deal with at times, but I feel really good and I'm happy he is back at 185 because I think that's the perfect weight class for him.
PC: You will be facing Pat Healy on September 29th. He's a little bit of a different style than you have been facing because both Thomson and Masvidal didn't have a problem standing with you. I'm thinking Pat's not gonna do that.
GM: I'm excited that it's new blood. I'm definitely embracing Strikeforce, and its owned by Zuffa now and I'm pumped about it. I think he is a tough fighter and it's going to make for an entertaining fight for me.
PC: One of my concerns was that you couldn't get motivated for a third fight with Josh Thomson and you pulled through that fight, but I'm sure you are looking forward to facing someone new.
GM: What it is, I was told that I was maybe gonna fight a top 3 fighter from the UFC and they were gonna come over and that was looking pretty good, so I went from that high to the low of...not that Josh Thomson ain't tough; he's a very tough guy and he's underrated, but he was coming off of a not-so-impressive win and a loss to a guy I demolished. So yeah, the motivation factor was there. I thought things were a little unfair towards me and I was bitter initially, but I'm over that already and being in that situation, I still came out with the W, which I'm proud of under those circumstances. But you know what? I'm done with that. That's a page of my life I'm done with; being upset. I'm done with that. I'm looking forward to fighting, having fun with it, and making a statement, you know?
PC: I feel you 100% my man. I thought Pat would get this shot a few fights ago. What do you see as his strengths coming into this fight, as well as his weaknesses?
GM: What he is really strong at is he is a very durable guy. He can take a punch and keep on coming. He's a grinder, so if I let him in the fight, he definitely will be able to run with it. Other than that, I think I'm better everywhere. I think I'm a better striker, athlete, better grappler, wrestler, and as long as I'm on point, I should show it out there.
PC: You have never been in a boring fight. In fact, you have been in some pretty exciting 5-round fights where he has never gone 5. Can we expect the same fast pace Gilbert Melendez or do you try to take him where he's never been and drown him?
GM: You're going to see the best of Gil. I'm coming to fight. I'm coming to make a statement. I'm not a stick and mover. My last 2 fights went the distance because those two guys tried to outpoint me; stick and move. Neither of them wanted to stay in the pocket. This is a guy who is going to stand his ground and I'm gonna hold my ground and someone is going to get beat up.
PC: Not looking past Pat Healy, but it appears the Frank Mir thing is a one-time thing. What's on your radar if things go the way I'm sure you plan on them going in September?
GM: You know what, man? I'm with Strikeforce. I don't see myself going to the UFC anytime soon. Maybe winning, you know? I just want to keep on winning and getting the W. This will be my 5th title defense and I would like to see myself get 3 more of these; 5, 6 or 7 title defenses and I think there will be enough noise made where they will have to make adjustments, you know? I have faith in Strikeforce and Zuffa that they will deliver.
PC: You have won 7 consecutive fights and you have also accomplished something not many can say and that is you have defeated everyone you were ever in the cage with. What are the keys to your consistency?
GM: Dude, I got a great team and great workout partners, the Diaz boys, Jake Shields and a lot of guys people don't even know about yet. I'm just constantly working in the room with my striking coach. I got great people around me and I'm passionate. I'm passionate about this sport. I really love this sport and I like to test myself. I don't like doubt. I'm not happy that my last fight had a little bit of doubt and that keeps me wanting to evolve and perform better. So I can't stand doubt.
PC: What can the fans in Sacramento expect from Gilbert Melendez on September 29th?
GM: They can expect to be very entertained. They can expect a fight and some fireworks and they will be very entertained.
PC: Is the lightweight division still comfortable to make or can we expect a little movement in the future?
GM: Yeah, I'm a 55-pounder. I can maybe drop to 45 or go up to 170. I'm up for whatever. The weight class is easy. I can make the weight no problem. I like to be big. I like to be strong. I can be small or light, whatever is clever. Who knows what they future holds?
PC: Best of luck to you next month. Definitely want to catch up with you during the course of your camp. Is there anything you want to say before I let you go?
GM: Yeah man, shout out to all my fans out there who support me. Go check out my gym website www.elninomma.com and follow me on Twitter @gilbertmelendez and @SkrapPack and thanks for the interview.