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Melendez warns Henderson: It's personal

ESPN staff
April 17, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Gilbert Melendez wants to make a real impact at UFC on Fox 7 © Getty Images
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Gilbert Melendez has promised UFC lightweight champion Ben Henderson it will be "personal" when the duo meet in the Octagon at UFC on Fox 7.

Melendez, making his debut in the UFC, is hoping to win the divisional title on his first appearance - after running up a record of 11 wins in 12 fights during his time with Strikeforce.

"No matter what, there's heat," Melendez told MMAJunkie. "I respect Benson. He's the No. 1 guy right now. He's the UFC champ. But come fight day, I'm going to try to kill him. I have bad intentions, and it is personal.

"I don't need to be mad at someone. I'm a professional, and I know how to turn on the switch and turn it on and off when I need to. Some people turn it on a month out. I turn it on right when it's time.

"It's going to be heated. It's going to be personal. It's just how I fight - I'm going to try to kill the guy. I don't need anyone talking crap on me. But let it be known, on fight day, Benson is not my friend. In fact, he's the enemy that day and I have to destroy him. That's the mentality I have to have."

Melendez revealed that he has enjoyed one of smoothest training camps of his professional career, despite deciding to bulk up in order to counter Henderson's particular strengths.

"I'm ready as heck, and I'm so happy it's happening," he added. "I'm going to take advantage of this opportunity. I've had 13 weeks' notice for a camp, and that's the longest I've ever had for a fight.

On Henderson, he added: "He's definitely a strong guy, and you can see it out there. I've seen it firsthand. He has those big legs. He's shredded. He's a huge 155-pounder. I knew it was necessary. I wouldn't say I put on that much muscle, but a good extra three pounds.

"I feel more shredded - I feel more durable, and I want to be able to take his kicks and take the punishment. It also helped me stay more durable during my training camp."

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