The UFC on FOX Sports 10 event went down this weekend with a controversial main event at Lightweight between Josh Thomson and Benson Henderson. The match was especially noteworthy as it was likely going to result in the winner earning a shot at Champion Anthony Pettis, who is recovering from injuries and is expected back in the summer. In the end, Henderson was the recipient of another Split Decision gift by the judges, after 5 rounds of fighting.
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Henderson is an excellent fighter, a really well spoken, intelligent guy and on paper he could describe the perfect champion. But as champion, he was never able to win over the public with a standout performance. He defeated Frankie Edgar for the belt, and the undersized Edgar had won fans over with his boxing heavy style. Edgar also defeated BJ Penn for the title, which has value in the UFC’s top heavy ‘star’ oriented world.
Henderson lost the title to Pettis after several non-descript defenses, and he showed little emotion or effort in doing so. UFC President Dana White stated Henderson would not get an immediate rematch.
Now White may have no choice but to make Pettis-Henderson III. Thomson had already been inked to fight Pettis, but took the Henderson match after Pettis revealed the injury he had would keep him out an extended period of time. Thomson was some new blood in the division, and most observers around the match with Henderson feel he won that match, but he cannot be a factor in the title picture coming off a loss.
This doesn’t leave the UFC much choice. Khabib Nurmagomedov is getting a reputation as a guy no one wants to fight, but that is not the marquee type matchup that the UFC likes. Another similar name is TJ Grant, who had also been inked to a title shot only to have it taken away by the fickle hand of White and then later by a concussion.
This really leaves us with Pettis-Henderson III, and we have the bugaboo of bad judging to thank for it.