Gilbert Melendez Agrees to New UFC Deal, Will Coach Opposite Anthony Pettis on ‘TUF 20’

By Tristen Critchfield Feb 24, 2014
After a brief flirtation with Bellator, Gilbert Melendez will remain on the UFC roster. | Dave Mandel/

Gilbert Melendez isn’t going anywhere.

The UFC announced on Sunday night that Melendez has agreed to a new contract with the Las Vegas-based promotion, although terms of the deal were not disclosed. “El Nino” had recently agreed to terms with Bellator MMA, but the UFC exercised its right to match that offer and retain the lightweight’s services.

Melendez will now coach opposite reigning lightweight champion Anthony Pettis on Season 20 of “The Ultimate Fighter.” The show begins filming in May and premieres on Fox Sports 1 on Sept. 10. “TUF 20” is set to introduce the women’s strawweight division to the UFC, with the winner of the season capturing the UFC 115-pound title.

After the reality series airs, Melendez will square off with Pettis for the lightweight crown late in 2014. The former Strikeforce ruler is 1-1 in two UFC appearances. After a narrow and controversial loss to Benson Henderson in his debut, the Skrap Pack representative took a memorable decision victory over Diego Sanchez in his last outing at UFC 166.

Pettis, meanwhile, defeated Henderson at UFC 164 to capture the 155-pound strap. “Showtime” has been shelved since then after electing to undergo surgery on his left knee for an injury suffered during his victory over Henderson.


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