"If you can find that target, it looks like you could put (Frankie Edgar) on the ground," Gil Melendez told MMAjunkie.com. "We need someone to find that target more than once, and I think I could find that target."
At the moment, his thoughts are academic. A UFC title shot is not next. What's next is a defense of his Strikeforce belt, and it could be the toughest fight of his life.
"The biggest motivation is fighting a guy who's underrated that I'm supposed to smash," Melendez said. "It's not for the fans; this is for myself to overcome this. I have nothing to gain here."
"I think I can prove a lot to myself if I can handle this business right here. This is where everyone supposedly chokes. Am I going to choke? We'll find out."
"I thought, and I still do think, that it makes sense for me to be [in the UFC]. But with that put away, it's gone in my head, and now it's focusing on this guy."
"He's become a well-rounded MMA fighter in the last couple of years. He's definitely a No. 1 contender and an underrated fighter. I think his biggest problem is being inconsistent ... and that's probably why he's not in the top 10 right now. But when he's focused and motivated, he's definitely a very big threat. Obviously, this is one he better be motivated for."
"I feel some of those guys are more popular than me. My main thing with the UFC is branding myself. I think I've got the better paychecks than a lot of the fighters. But a big part of my future would be able to brand myself, and I assume by the end of my career I would have that opportunity to brand myself in the sport."
"Again, I want the UFC strap as soon as possible, and it's inevitable and I want to get it. If I have to fight 10 guys, yes. But do I feel like I'm ready now? I feel like I'm ready now. I've been ready for a long time. I've been in this sport longer than Gray. I've been in this sport longer than Frankie. I feel like I'm constantly proving myself. I'm not mad, but I feel like I'm ready now."