Back at UFC 188, Gilbert Melendez and Eddie Alvarez squared off in the co-main event of the highly anticipated card.
Alvarez was looking to bounce back from a lopsided loss to Donald Cerrone, and capture his first UFC win. Melendez on the other hand was looking to return to the win column after a submission loss to Anthony Pettis in a failed bid for the lightweight championship.
A failed drug test landed Melendez on the sidelines for a year, during which time Alvarez captured the UFC lightweight championship from Rafael dos Anjos.
Ahead of Melendez’ return to the Octagon on Saturday against Edson Barboza, the former Strikeforce champ gave his thoughts on a potential rematch with Alvarez. He spoke to UFC.com:
“Absolutely, we’ve got a very compelling storyline when I win this fight. Eddie and I had a very close fight, but if you looked at our faces after the fight, we know who took more damage and who landed the more devastating strikes. So it makes things interesting, and the whole division is very interesting, to be honest. The belt is changing hands constantly, and it’s hard to defend the throne.”
In terms of his return to the Octagon, Melendez said:
“I needed something to wake up to and look at myself in the mirror and get somewhat emotional about, something to drive me,” he said. “I’m a normal person, but I’m driven, and you need that adversity. You need something to bring the best out of you, and you have to find it. You’ve got to find the ‘Why am I doing this?’ And I have my ‘why’ right now and that’s to prove I’m relevant, to redeem myself and that’s to show that I’m all heart. I have something to prove.”