Scott Coker (above) said fans will have to wait for Strikeforce vs. UFC matchups. | Photo: Dave Mandel
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said Monday that a rumored matchup between Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez and UFC contender Jim Miller is just that: a rumor.
“There’s going to be a lot of rumors flying back and forth, around fights and what’s going to happen, but they’re not based on fact,” Coker said during a “Savage Dog Show” interview. “They’re just based on rumors and people just trying to start a story or keep legs on the story. The truth is there has not been any dialogue on that.”
However, Coker does believe his champion will eventually meet opposition from the UFC.
“Who knows when those other fights will happen,” Coker said, “but I think that Gilbert will be able to hold his own and prove to the world that he is the number one fighter in the world.”
Melendez dominated Tatsuya Kawajiri in an April 9 title defense, stopping him via elbows 3:14 into the first round. The impressive outing bolstered Melendez’s claim that he’s the best lightweight in the world.
“I’ve been feeling that he’s the number one lightweight in the world for the last 18 months or the last year at least,” Coker said. “I think if you look at his performance over Kawajiri … I think it’s well deserved.”
At least some doubters will remain, though, until Melendez gets to meet the UFC’s best at his weight. He just has to be patient, Coker said.
“The truth is we haven’t sat down and really mapped out a game plan to the length of when these fights will happen,” Coker explained. “I don’t really have a response to that, but I think at some point, these fights will happen. And I think they should happen. It’s just a matter of when and not if.”
In the meantime, Melendez will be defending his belt in Strikeforce. Coker suggested that he had a couple of title eliminator-type fights in mind that could establish the next 155-pound contender.
“One of the fights I’d personally like to see is maybe Jorge Masvidal fight Justin Wilcox,” he hinted. “That’s something that I think would be very entertaining for the fans and really see who the next guy could be.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:09:55).