“It was on a conference call and I had to put them on mute,” Melendez said. “I was just smiling and yelling and dancing around like a little girl. I was just really excited.”
He had good reason to be. Though Melendez wouldn’t divulge the details of his new contract with the UFC, he would say he was “extremely happy with the terms we came to,” including the promise of an “Ultimate Fighter” coaching spot opposite UFC lightweight champ Anthony Pettis, with a title shot to follow.
Getting the deal he wanted wasn’t easy, however. It required him to bite his tongue a few times, and also required him to be willing to jump ship and sign with Bellator if it came down to it.
“It’s a tough thing to do, but I never wanted to walk away,” Melendez said. “I never wanted to leave the UFC. It’s the best organization in the world, has the best fighters in the world, it’s where I wanted to be, but I had to put that aside to think about my family and my future. …I had to weigh it out and I had to explore my options. I got to a point where I had a good plan for my future, and I just had to hope that the UFC would come along with me so I could get to that point and still be with them.”