This weekend the UFC won’t be putting on a show in their home-base of Las Vegas but the organization will be gambling nonetheless. As you likely already know, the main event on Saturday night at UFC 150 features lightweight Benson Henderson putting his championship on the line against former title-holder Frankie Edgar.
While in most cases a match-up between divisional kings of past and present makes a ton of sense, Edgar’s effort against Henderson is a unique case based on it involving an immediate rematch. Furthermore, Henderson’s win over Edgar was far from controversial, yet Edgar is getting a second go at “Bendo” because he was involved in a series of rematches while he held the gold.
In awarding “The Answer” a rematch the UFC is taking a major risk that, if fate dictates, will have a ripple effect on the entire division and possibly hold things up for another six months if not longer.
When Edgar fought Henderson in February he looked sharp in the opening rounds before eating an upkick and steadily declining thereafter. If he can duplicate his early success and avoid any significant strikes there’s a good chance Edgar will earn a decision win. If he does, and it’s even mildly debatable, the UFC almost HAS to give Henderson an immediate rematch to settle the score fully. Doing so then forces the UFC to find an opponent for top contender Nate Diaz, plus fighters like Gray Maynard and Anthony Pettis are within grasp of a title-shot as well. That means another 3-4 months before Edgar-Henderson III would occur and another 3-4 before either would be ready to defend the belt again.
Also, it shouldn’t be forgotten that Edgar’s rematches were more or less a necessity. His title-win over B.J. Penn was the result of a razor-thin decision, while he fought to a Draw with Maynard so it only made sense to have them mix it up again. He didn’t do either man or the UFC a favor by taking the fights – he needed to face them in order to establish himself as a legit champion.
As such, the UFC brass needs to be crossing their fingers backstage this weekend in hopes that Henderson smashes Edgar into a featherweight or at least repeats with a hard-fought decision. If not, livelihoods will be affected and fans will be forced to suffer through a third consecutive clash between the same two individuals. It’s a bad situation in general and one that could have been avoided if the UFC did what was right (giving someone new a title-shot) instead of what was easy (making Edgar happy).
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC