Yesterday, news broke that negotiations were ongoing for a potential UFC on Fox 7 title fight between reigning UFC lightweight champion Benson “Smooth” Henderson and former Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez.

Earlier today, Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports confirmed that negotiations turned into dried ink, and that the fight will in fact take center stage in San Jose, Calif. with the eyes and ears of the sports world tuned into Fox on Apr. 20. The bout marks the inaugural bout on Melendez’s UFC contract, as well as the first of eight bouts on Henderson’s newly-minted UFC contract.

“I am beyond thrilled to be competing again on network TV for the UFC on FOX 7 card against Gilbert Melendez,” said Henderson. “It’s an honor to be put in this position by both the UFC and FOX executives, who are placing trust in me to be able to deliver another exciting fight on live TV. The fans can expect to see a lot of action from two fighters who have aggressive styles. It should be a fun night.”

Henderson will fight for the first time in 2013 when he faces the Strikeforce champion. Meanwhile, Melendez will come off of a hotly-contested and razor-thin split-decision win over rival and former Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh Thomson. Melendez has been out of action since May, as injuries have forced him to withdraw from two planned Strikeforce title defenses against Pat Healy.

In the co-headliner, undefeated phenom Daniel Cormier will also return to action, though he will only enjoy just three months away from action. Cormier’s undefeated record recently claimed Dion Staring in the co-headliner of last weekend’s Strikeforce card in Oklahoma City, and now he will set his sights on former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir.

Last year’s injury bug prevent Mir from facing Cormier under the Strikeforce banner, but the former champion will look to bounce back from a UFC 146 defeat to then-heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos when he welcomes Cormier to the Octagon.

Photo: UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson (James Law/ Heavy MMA)

About The Author

Dale De Souza
Staff Writer

Dale De Souza is a 22-year-old kid straight out of Texas, who grew up around Professional Wrestling but embraced the beauty of Mixed Martial Arts and Combat Sports at a young age. Dale is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report MMA, a writer at The MMA Corner.