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Gilbert Melendez wants fight with longtime rival Eddie Alvarez in Mexico

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

If Gilbert Melendez has his way, fans will get to see that Strikeforce vs. Bellator superfight all these years later.

Melendez told Ariel Helwani on Monday's The MMA Hour that he'd like his next fight to be against Eddie Alvarez at the proposed UFC 188 card in Mexico on June 13. Melendez was the Strikeforce lightweight champion from 2009 to 2012, while Alvarez held the Bellator lightweight belt from 2009 to 2011 and then again last year.

The Melendez-Alvarez bout was proposed back then, but the two promotions couldn't come to a deal. Both men wanted it at the time and Melendez thinks it's finally the right moment. During that period, they were each regarded as two of the best fighters on the planet not under the Zuffa banner.

"If Eddie Alvarez is out there and he's open to fight me and I think he is -- no doubt in my mind he's open to fight me -- I think we should try to fight each other," Melendez said. "There would be no better place than Mexico City. That would be the one to do it on if you ask me."

Melendez is of Mexican descent and Alvarez is half Puerto Rican and half Irish. The two remain top 155-pounders in the world and both men are proficient MMA boxers. The UFC 188 main event is likely to be a heavyweight title unification bout between Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum, but Melendez-Alvarez would be a bankable co-headliner.

"It's two guys that probably have similar fighting styles," Melendez said. "It would be a good recipe for a bad ass MMA fight."

After the original discussions of a fight around four years ago, the two men sniped back and forth with each other in interviews and on social media. Melendez said he never took it personally.

"I believe I was calling out Eddie Alvarez first," Melendez said. "Again, I called him out because I thought he was one of the best guys. Initially, I called him out back in the day thinking that Strikeforce and Bellator could have made it happen. This is years ago. I think he took it a little bit as an insult, because I think he thought it wasn't even possible."

Both men are in the UFC now, so the novelty of two champions squaring off has evaporated. Yet there still seems like there is some unfinished business there. And with each coming off a loss, it does make sense. Melendez fell to champion Anthony Pettis at UFC 181 in December and Alvarez was defeated by Donald Cerrone at UFC 178 in September.

"I don't really care much about him, but I do respect him as a fighter," Melendez said. "I'd like to share the Octagon with him finally."

Melendez said his management team has spoken to the UFC about it already, although nothing has been confirmed. It is, though, what he would like.

"If the UFC could make that happen and if Eddie wants it, I think that's the next fight for me," Melendez said.

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