Former Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez is ready to get back to the top of his weight class, but with only one fight left on his current contract, he is welcoming his upcoming free agency.

Melendez has had a very successful career to this point, but the California-based fighter has now dropped two out of his last three fights and is looking to get the best option for his future.

"I have one fight left with Strikeforce. I really do like Strikeforce, I think they're a great organization and they took care of me," Melendez told "But I have other goals too, other dreams. I do want to get my payback against Josh (Thomson) and (Mitsuhiro) Ishida, that's awesome that they're there too, but I'm just going to make sure I do really good on my next fight and then I'm going to weigh out all my options.

"It's going to feel good to be a free agent after this fight and see what I can do."

The next Strikeforce show is set for Nov. 21, but Melendez says it is up in the air if he will end up on that card or not.

Since moving his career back to the United States full time after competing in Japan for much of the last few years, Melendez has stated many times that he wants to build his name to the American fans and there is no bigger place to do that than the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

He says there's a good possibility he could land with the biggest promotion in all the land.

"There's a big chance," he said about possibly landing with the UFC. "That's an organization I've always liked to be a part of and a lot of the guys in there I would want to fight. A lot of those guys motivate me. It's motivating to test yourself in front of the world. That's the most motivating thing about going to the UFC is that you really get to showcase yourself."

As of right now, Melendez will work to open a new school in San Francisco, while still working with close friends at the Cesar Gracie fight team.

"I just opened a school here in San Francisco. I haven't come up with a name yet, but it should be in full effect by November," he commented. "The goal of that school is just to make my training situation better for myself. I was hopping around a lot, gym to gym, and just didn't have a set schedule. I'm just trying to bring structure to my training and get some cool students on the way and hopefully get a little fight team and represent out here in California and in San Francisco."

Regardless of where his free agency lands him, Melendez is mostly focused on getting back on track with a win in his next fight, whenever that may be.

"I lost my last fight as everyone knows and my next fight you're going to see the work I put in. I want to make sure I'm ready for my next fight."

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