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Ever since Eddie Alvarez signed with the UFC several weeks back the name on the tip of his tongue during almost every interview has been top ranked lightweight contender Gilbert Melendez.
The two fighters were rumored to fight a few years back while both were competing in different organizations outside the UFC and apparently when things didn’t come together Alvarez didn’t like Melendez’s approach about the whole ordeal.
It’s gotten so nasty lately that Alvarez is actually rooting for Melendez to beat Anthony Pettis in December just so they can fight for the belt next year.
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For his part, Melendez isn’t sure what rattled Alvarez’s cage so much that the former Bellator fighter has become almost obsessed with him lately. Melendez has no problem admitting he really wanted to fight Alvarez at one time in his career, but those days are long gone.
I forgot who that guy is. I don’t even think he’s in the top five in my opinion right now. I think he has a long way to go
— Gilbert Melendez on Eddie Alvarez
"I’ll tell you what at one time I thought Eddie Alvarez was the best in the world and I wanted to fight the best in the world. That was plain and simple," Melendez told FOX Sports. "Now, I forgot who that guy is. I don’t even think he’s in the top five in my opinion right now. I think he has a long way to go."
Melendez doesn’t really care that Alvarez is so angry at him that he’s seeing red lately. In reality, Melendez chalks up Alvarez’s ire to a bit of envy after he signed a new deal with the UFC following a very brief period of free agency where he flirted with going to another organization.
Alvarez fought tooth and nail to become a free agent and ended up spending the better part of two years caught in legal battles before finally signing with the UFC in 2014. Melendez didn’t have any of the same misfortune and just believes he knew how to handle business the right way all along.
"At a point, I respected him highly and thought he was top five in the world. I thought we’d be fireworks, but I also think some of us play our business cards a little smarter in this sport and some get a little envious of that," Melendez said.
"That could due his jealousy towards me, I’ll say, but we can do it and it’s going to happen."
Melendez isn’t losing any sleep over Alvarez’s continued grudge against him. He’s focused on the current season of The Ultimate Fighter and his fight coming up on December 6 against Pettis with the UFC lightweight title on the line.
If Alvarez crosses his path, however, Melendez will be more than happy to shut him up once and for all.
"I don’t know him on a personal level. I never hung out with him on a personal level. Just straight up tried to fight the guy who I thought was best in the world — at the time. But I haven’t said a word about him in years because I don’t feel that way (anymore)," Melendez said.
"If he walks around and he’s by my side, he better be careful because it’s on. It’s definitely on."