Shields Says Melendez Uninjured, Wants Nurmagomedov When Time Right
Despite turning down a proposed match-up with rising lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 170, Gilbert Melendez still wants the fight, according to training partner Jake Shields. The confusion began when UFC President Dana White announced that the fight would take place at UFC 170, despite it not yet being signed. Rumors began to fly that Melendez was either injured or afraid of Khabib.
In an interview with MMA Sucka, Shields first dispelled rumors that Melendez was injured, saying “He’s okay, that was just a fight that was never signed, I believe it was announced too early.” Shields went on to say that Melendez is interested in the fight, it was just the proposed fight date that kept him from signing on to fight Nurmagomedov. “It’s a fight he wants as well, it just didn’t fit in the time frame. I don’t think he ever planned on fighting that early, he was looking to fight in April…I think that fight is gonna happen, I just think the time frame was off for the February card.”
Melendez (22-3, 1-1 UFC), most recently fought at UFC 166, where he had a “fight of the night” win over Diego Sanchez. He would face a stern test in Nurmagomedov (21-0, 5-0 UFC), who has taken the lightweight division by storm, most recently beating Pat Healy via decision at UFC 165. It is not yet known when they will fight, if they will at all.