A defeated Melendez, who has been competing as a professional MMA fighter for almost seventeen years, doesn’t know what his future holds.
“I’m someone who’s always had friends and love and fighting didn’t define me,” Melendez told Brett Okamoto of ESPN (via Milan Ordonez of Bloody Elbow). “I have a beautiful, wonderful wife, I have a family that’s supported me, and I have a great community of people at my gym. I don’t need fighting, and it doesn’t define me. It’s no secret I’ve been on the fourth quarter. I fought when no one knew about fighting, then I fought when everyone knew about fighting and I’m fighting still because I like it. Not for popularity, not because I want to win, not because I want to protect my brand, just because I love to challenge myself. I leveled up today just being out there, challenging myself. What a great opportunity to be here on a big stage and chase another great moment. And unfortunately, it didn’t work out, but it was fun. I had a good time and I wish I could’ve done more.”
Melendez hasn’t won a fight in almost six years, with that last victory coming against Diego Sanchez at UFC 166.
Don’t expect Melendez to officially announce a retirement anytime soon, as Melendez would like to mold himself after Renzo Gracie.
“It’s hard to say. It’s hard to just say it’s over,” he said. “I love how Renzo Gracie will never retire. Who knows? Maybe five years down the road, something will happen.”
The potentially retired Melendez is the husband of Keri Melendez, who is an undefeated fighter competing under the Bellator MMA banner.