Gilbert Melendez, Eternal Student

UFC lightweight contender and former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez blogs about his preparation for his fight against Diego Sanchez at UFC 166 on October 19.
Thanks for checking out my first UFC 166 blog. First I feel I should tell you about my UFC debut and defeat, the title fight against Benson Henderson in April. It was my first fight in the UFC and of course it hurt to lose, but I took a lot of good things from that fight. Even though I lost, I feel I gained more respect as a fighter – from other fighters, the press, my colleagues -- than I ever had before. I had never fought in the UFC before and I think I really broke through and looked good and strong.

Now that I’ve shown I’m a true fighter in the UFC, I feel a little more pressure. I’m excited to be fighting with the best in the world, but that also brings more pressure. Still, pressure is something that I’ve always used as motivation to do better.

My next fight will be against Diego Sanchez on the main card of UFC 166. I’ve watched plenty of videos on Diego. He’s very aggressive and is the type of fighter who always comes forward and pushes the pace. He’s the kind of guy who’d rather be knocked out than have a boring fight and he’s not afraid of the scramble. He’s not the most technical fighter I’ve faced, but you can never discount him because he always goes for it.

In that sense we’re similar, because I’m also always going forward. I like to be on the offense and look for the fight, so I think ours will be a good one. We could definitely win the bonus for Fight of the Night, or if I set the pace and catch him I could win KO of the Night. That’s what I’m going for.

In between training and preparation, I went to ESPN as an analyst, and I really enjoyed it. I love talking about the fights and I think there could be a future for me in that. But for now I still have a lot to give inside the Octagon.

All is well with my preparation and weight. I’m not fat, but I do have some extra pounds, so I started working with Mike Dolce on my diet. He’s teamed up with my wife and now that they’ve spoken, she has a lot of new recipes and ideas. It’ll be the first time I do this type of diet, but I think it’s what I need right now. Mike is an expert and this is a new thing I’m learning. I always love when I can be a student of the sport.

In my opinion, fighters always have to be learning in order to improve. Whether it’s trying out new coaches, styles, techniques or anything else, it all pays off when you get better. I’m also now a student of Spanish – I’m off to lessons and could use some help from my fans. Definitely follow me at @GilbertMelendez and give me some pointers!

Watch Past Fights


Open workout for fans and media during UFC Fight Night Open Workouts at Times Square on November 25, 2015 in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by Han Myung-Gu / Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
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