By Raphael Garcia
The mixed martial arts community on Twitter was set ablaze Tuesday evening when a giant rematch was announced. Less than two weeks after winning the lightweight title at UFC 144, Benson Henderson is now expected to make his first title defense against former champion Frankie Edgar at a yet to be named event. The first fight was a back and forth affair, and with the announcement of the rematch, this bout will be even more intense.
At 14-2-1, losing is a hard pill to swallow for the former champion. It took him three fights, but he found a way to avenge his loss to Gray Maynard back at UFC 136. The defeat to Henderson was that much more difficult, because Edgar didn't just lose his belt; he truly believed that he did enough to win the fight, as you heard during his comments at the post fight press conference. However, the judges thought differently, awarding the contest to Henderson by the scores of 49-46, 48-47, and 49-46. Edgar even went on to comment about how he had to give two rematches to former contenders after close bouts, so he believes that he is entitled to the same treatment.
Since winning the title, Henderson has been very clear that he is ready to give the former champion a rematch. In recent interviews and through his own Twitter account, Henderson has indicated a willingness to face any competitor, and even claimed he would fight the entire UFC lightweight roster in one night! Farfetched indeed, but still a clear statement from the current champion that he’s going to do whatever is needed to prove he’s earned his place atop the lightweight division.
With Edgar putting his foot down and choosing to remain in the division that he has ruled since 2009, one has to wonder if all those pushing for him to cut down to featherweight will be silenced if he pulls out a victory. Immediately after his title loss, rumors ran amok about him possibly dropping down in weight to become a viable contender to Jose Aldo's featherweight title. Edgar showed no interest in making the move down and kept his eyes on the 155-pound division. Now with only Hatsu Hioki (who’s stated he wants another fight before facing Aldo) as the only contender, the questions will begin to focus on what the UFC will do with the fighter known as “Scarface.” Not much is left for him to prove as a featherweight and he has hinted to a move up in weight.
The lightweight division has been “slowed down” by rematches for the past few years, but the argument in Edgar’s favor was persuasive. Immediately after the fight was over UFC President Dana White stated that he believed Edgar had won the fight, so you have to wonder if those feelings may have played into the decision to make this fight. Either way, fight fans can expect another rousing performance by the two top lightweights in the sport, as Henderson-Edgar II is planned for the summer of 2012.
March 8, 2012
By Raphael Garcia