Many thought that the main event at UFC 150 between Ben Henderson and Frankie Edgar was the fight that never happened. Some people thought that the victory by Ben Henderson in the previous match-up was controversial, and that Edgar should have retained his title; others thought that Ben Henderson deserved the belt. At any rate, the first match-up left enough questions that Dana White thought it necessary to have an immediate re-match – which brings us to where we are.
Ben “Smooth”/”Bendo” Henderson left the cage with his hand raised last night after a five-round war with a split-decision victory. Unfortunately, he did nothing to silence the speculation, given the close fought nature of the battle.
Let’s get one thing straight: In 90% of cases, I can’t stand immediate re-matches. I think they are disrespectful to the next contender in line. Unless there was clearly some suspect judging at play (e.g. Machida v. Shogun I), you can’t just give a fighter a mulligan after losing. At the end of the day: if you lost, you lost. You didn’t do enough to convince the people who you needed to convince that you should have had your hand raised. Accept it. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s move along to the result of last night’s bout.
After watching five-rounds of non-stop action, I do believe that last night’s fight was a lot harder to determine than the first meet between these two. In the first match, Henderson clearly won in my eyes. I won’t give my scoring for this fight, because I am very biased (in that I think Frankie Edgar is a largely overrated fighter). Do I think that Henderson decisively secured the victory? Not by a long-shot.
That being said, I don’t think that there should be another re-match? No. Regardless of my opinions noted above, Frankie has bad two chances to prove that he can beat Ben Henderson. Assuming that there was judging error the first time, he could have done everything in his power to put that first fight to rest and lock down a finish – unfortunately, he did not. In fact there were very few moments in the fight where Frankie even went for the finish. It’s time to move on.
So, does Ben Henderson have the “Answer” for Frankie Edgar? Apparently in the eyes of the judges he does.
In his next match against Nate Diaz, I think he will need to show the flair and killer instinct that he has typically displayed in his previous matches. Diaz fights with a lot more aggression than Edgar does, and isn’t going to give Bendo the openings that he has had against Edgar.
In the meantime, Frankie Edgar will just have to ice his pride. If I were him, I would do the same thing that BJ Penn did after losing twice in a row in a championship match (at the same weight class) and change divisions. Realistically, a fighter can only have so many title shots in one division and still be considered a draw. Frankie may have one more good title run in him at lightweight – but, no one is going to want to watch another re-match against Ben Henderson. Moving down to 145lbs, Frankie could be to the featherweight division, what Georges St. Pierre is to welterweight; that is of course assuming he could dispatch of current champion Jose Aldo.
I will look forward to Henderson and Diaz in the coming months, because one thing is assured: win or lose, Diaz’s post-fight antics will guarantee no immediate re-match.
… and that is the last word.