Melendez awarded black belt

You can add Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt to the already
impressive resume of UFC lightweight contender Gilbert

Less than a week after defeating Diego Sanchez in what is sure
to be the 2013 Fight of the Year at UFC 166, the former Strikeforce
champion was awarded his black belt by longtime coach Cesar Gracie,
who tweeted out congratulations to “El Nino”
accompanied with a picture:

Following his win over Sanchez last weekend, Melendez began
lobbying for the opportunity to face the winner of the upcoming
lightweight title fight between champion Anthony
“Showtime” Pettis and “The Punk,” Josh
Thomson, a man Melendez has faced three times in the past.

Given how close Melendez came from winning the title when he
faced then-champion Benson Henderson in April and the awesomeness
of his UFC 166 encounter with Sanchez, UFC President Dana White
said it was a possibility, though failed to commit to the

For now, the 22-3 Melendez can relax and enjoy some down time
with his wife and daughter. After a savage battle like the one he
had with Sanchez, he’s certainly earned it.

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