The matchup will serve as Melendez’s long-awaited debut in the organization, and will take place at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. on April 20.
Henderson (18-2) was last seen successfully defending his title against Melendez’s teammate, Nate Diaz, at UFC on FOX 6 in December. With the win, “Bendo” won his sixth consecutive fight and has not seen defeat since losing to Anthony Pettis at the final WEC card in December 2010.
Melendez (21-2) has spent the last five years fighting exclusively for Strikeforce, where he held the promotion’s 155-pound title. Since Zuffa, the parent company of the UFC, bought the company in March 2011, much of the talk surrounding Melendez has been about when the fighter will move over to the world’s leading MMA promotion. Roadblocks behind the scenes have prevented that transition, but since Strikeforce closed its doors last weekend, Melendez’s UFC debut is all but guaranteed.
When contacted by GRACIEMAG.com on Monday, Zuffa officials could not confirm if the Henderson-Melendez bout is signed.
MMAFighting.com first reported news of the matchup.
For more UFC and MMA coverage,
visit GRACIEMAG.com’s Choke MMA section
*Photos by Ezra Shaw/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images and Esther Lin/Forza LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images