In order to fight Gilbert Melendez today at UFC 215, Jeremy Stephens had to shuffle around a few things in his schedule, including a wedding…
Stephens will face the former, Strikeforce lightweight champ on the main card of today’s event, which is going down in Edmonton, Alberta. It’s an interesting fight, not only because of the abilities and resumes of both men, but because it will mark the featherweight debut of Melendez.
During fight week, Stephens was asked for his reaction upon being offered the fight, and “Lil Heathen” revealed the following (quotes via MMA Fighting):
“I got the call and I said, ‘alright, who’s the opponent?’ said Stephens, who was originally supposed to get married last weekend. “They said ‘Gilbert Melendez,’ and I said ‘hang on, let me call my fiancee real quick’ and see if she’s willing to do it.”
“Of course, she supported me 100 percent,” Stephens added. “And you know, it may cost a little bit more for the wedding, but this is something I definitely wanted to do.”
“I have a great opponent in Gilbert Melendez which I know is going to be exciting for the fans. Especially in Canada, I feel the Canadian fans are a little bit more exciting than the American fans, they’re wild, they’re rowdy, they love a good fight and it’s an honor to be there.”
Unless you’re brand new to MMA, then you know both Stephens and Melendez have been involved in plenty of wars. So in other words, don’t be surprised if Stephens has some additional “Fight of the Night” cash to put towards his wedding.
All this aside, it’s an important fight for both. Stephens is coming off consecutive, decision losses to Frankie Edgar and Renato Moicano, and is 1-3 in his last four bouts.
Melendez, meanwhile, has lost three in a row. Although, it should be noted that all three defeats came against top tier lightweights in Anthony Pettis, Eddie Alvarez and Edson Barboza.
UFC 215 will be hosted by Edmonton’s Roger Place.