Dana White: Benson Henderson Has A Long Road Back To UFC Lightweight Championship

UFC President Dana White said former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson has a long road ahead of him if he wants to fight for the title again.

“That’s definitely the case,” White told MMA Junkieregarding a rematch between Henderson and new champion Anthony Pettis.

Henderson and Pettis first faced each other at WEC 53 on December 16, 2010, with Pettis winning the match by unanimous decision to earn the lightweight championship. The match was awarded Fight of the Night and Fight of the Year.

With WEC having merged with the UFC in October 2010, Pettis was scheduled to face the winner of UFC 125: Edgar vs. Maynard in order to unify the two promotions’ lightweight championships. Edgar vs. Maynard ended in a draw, forcing a rematch at UFC 136 in October 2011, which Edgar won. Pettis decided not to wait to fight the winner of the rematch and fought Clay Guida at the TUF 13 finale, losing the fight and his title shot.

Henderson defeated Edgar by unanimous decision for the championship at UFC 144 in February 2012. The match earned Fight of the Night, and an immediate rematch was scheduled for UFC 150 in August. Henderson defended his title by split decision.

Sunday night, Anthony Pettis defeated Benson Henderson by armbar submission at 0:38 in the first round to become the new UFC lightweight champion.

White said he believed the match was so one-sided that fans won’t be interested in seeing Pettis and Henderson fight again anytime soon. He cited Anderson Silva’s 2011 knockout victory over Vitor Belfort at UFC 126, after which the promotion was hesitant to put the two back together too soon. Two years later, a rematch still hasn’t happened, with Silva saying he won’t fight Belfort or any other Brazilians.

“We had the fight with Ben and Frankie where some people thought he won,” White said. “There’s no f***ing denying who won this fight, and it was a first-round annihilation, kind of like the Vitor-Anderson thing, you know what I mean?”

Henderson, who said after the fight that he would be back, said he was trying to keep his emotions in check.

“I did my crying and blubbering backstage,” Henderson said. “I figure you guys have enough film and footage of me crying, so I was like, ‘Yeah, I’ll go ahead and do that backstage so you guys can’t film me and then play it over and over and over.’ “

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