ByDan Shapiro, writer at
Senior Editor, Champions
Dan Shapiro

Gilbert Melendez hasn’t won an MMA fight in three years, but that hasn’t slowed the former champion and two-time UFC title challenger down.

Owner of San Francisco’s El Nino Training Center, Melendez works as an MMA analyst for ESPN alongside Bellator light heavyweight Chael Sonnen. He also cornered Skrap Pack teammate Nate Diaz for his UFC 202 rematch against Conor McGregor.

Melendez, who currently has no fights booked, has seen McGregor up close, helping train and gameplan for what would eventually become the UFC’s highest selling pay-per-view card. And while he favors in a short stand-up affair and lightweight champion in a deep-water battle, Melendez has yet to offer an official prediction for the main event.

He is, however, confident that Diaz should face the winner of the November 12 headliner, which happens to be the UFC’s debut at in New York.

“I think [Nate] fights the winner,” offered Melendez. “We’re talking about business here and how things work … Eddie wins that fight, you know, I think Nate gets that fight. I think Conor wins that fight, I think Nate gets that fight as well … that’s what people want to see.”

In an exclusive with, Melendez delves further into a pending McGregor vs. Diaz trilogy fight. He also discusses potential plans to drop down to featherweight in hopes of earning a rematch with Anthony Pettis and the mixed martial arts debut of his wife, Keri-Anne Taylor Melendez, who will take on Sheila Padilla at Bellator 165 on November 19.


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