Are you ready for a saga? That may be the case with the Gilbert Melendez-Josh Thomson rivalry in the Strikeforce promotion.

The two men fought an insane battle Saturday night that started off rather slow, but eventually picked up as the fight went on. When the fight was over, fans were left debating their scorecards as the bout resulted in a split decision victory for the champion Melendez.

Regardless of who you thought won, most fans were in agreement that we’d like to see these two warriors go to battle once more. Well, that is everyone but Melendez.

It was clear that Melendez doesn’t want another bout with Thomson, and for good reason. Melendez knew he was in a no-win scenario with the rubber match, and it would be hard to say Melendez emerged as the true winner after Saturday night.

Sure, the champion retained his belt, but he looked anything but a winner. His face was marked up while Thomson looked like he just finished a few rounds of sparring. In the only time where the fight seemed to be on the brink of a finish, it was Melendez who found himself nearly forced to tap out.

Although Melendez doesn’t want another bout against Thomson, it’s clear Strikeforce wouldn’t mind.

The promotion banked on the idea that Melendez is the top lightweight in the world, a claim that could’ve been argued in an educated manner prior to Saturday night. But given the manner in which Melendez performed, any fan would be hard pressed to say that the Strikeforce champ is better than Benson Henderson or Frankie Edgar.

The Strikeforce lightweight division doesn’t have much depth—a reason for Thomson receiving a title shot after one unimpressive fight in the past year.

All three bouts between Melendez and Thomson have been wildly entertaining and it is pretty much the only thing Strikeforce has left to sell outside of Ronda Rousey. With that said, it’s clear Melendez doesn’t want any part of it.

Melendez has been pretty good at backing Strikeforce and carrying the weight of the promotion while his counterparts have left for the UFC. I believe Melendez is beginning to realize he needs to start competing in the Octagon because his unimpressive showings against Thomson and Jorge Masvidal are doing little to help his position in the lightweight rankings.

The frustration on Melendez’s part was evident as he walked away from the cage and retaliated to a fan who was booing him.

Wins over guys in the promotion mean very little when all eyes are turned to the UFC’s lightweight division. So long as Melendez continues to compete in Strikeforce he will be in no-win situations.

The champion may be put into a no-win scenario, but for Strikeforce, a fourth bout between Melendez and Thomson is looking like a very real possibility.

Will Melendez still choose loyalty over his career, and continue fighting when he has everything to lose and nothing to gain? Or will the promotion be forced to find another superstar just as they have been forced to do with every one of their other divisions?

Photo: Gilbert Melendez (L) battles Josh Thomson (Esther Lin/Showtime)

  • RockStar

    I saw the fight and had a few people over as well. The majority of everyone thought for sure that Melendez lost his belt. I think that a rematch is one of only a handful of fights in Strikeforce that I’d care to see.