As one of the UFC's most battle-tested lightweight veterans, there's no better person to ask about the upcoming title fight between #ConorMcGregor and #EddieAlvarez than former Strikeforce champion #GilbertMelendez.
Champions.co correspondent Dave Rispoli recently caught up with "El Nino" to get his thoughts on the highly-anticipated matchup at UFC 205; Melendez couldn't help but admit that the bout is "going to be a terrific fight."
While Melendez isn't sure who's going to come up victorious on fight night, he did offer his thoughts as to what tools and weaknesses Alvarez and McGregor each bring to the Octagon. Melendez believes that the UFC lightweight champion has a bit more milage on his chin than "Notorious," which could end up hurting him.
"With the years of damage, he's become more elusive of a fighter now," Melendez said. "Going up against guys like myself and [Anthony] Pettis and against Cowboy [Cerrone], he hasn't been a stand in the center pocket guy. He's been more of a strategic guy."
Melendez thinks that Alvarez's best shot at retaining the 155 lb. crown is to stay on the outside using his footwork in order to pick McGregor apart with strikes and takedown attempts.
"Don't stand toe-to-toe with Conor," Melendez said. "Although you might be able to strike with him, that's his best chance."
The former Strikeforce champ believes McGregor has a bit of edge in terms of striking due to his long reach and excellent chin. Even his Achilles' heel of grappling may be a thing of the past due to his renewed focus on tightening up his wrestling and jiu-jitsu.
Although Melendez gives Alvarez a shot at winning if the matchup goes all five rounds, he also thinks McGregor has what it takes to finish the champ.
"If Eddie Alvarez wins, I believe it can go the distance," Melendez said. "I think if Conor wins, it's going to be definitely by a TKO."