After Ben Henderson seized the UFC’s lightweight title from Frankie Edgar last night at UFC 144 in Japan and old WEC rival Anthony Pettis claimed a spectacular head kick KO over Joe Lauzon the buzz post-fight was of a rematch between the two.
In fact on the live broadcast Joe Rogan indicated that in the immediate aftermath of the main event that was the talk amongst the UFC bigwigs, though Dana White later backed up from committing to that fight, stressing that there were plenty of other options available to them.
Meanwhile, the newly crowned champion wasn’t throwing his weight behind Pettis being his next opponent, though he did acknowledge that a second fight between was inevitable at some stage in their careers.
“I see you, I see you doing big things,” Henderson said of Pettis in his post-fight interview with Ariel Helwani. “In the way he does things – man, he’s spectacular. He does a lot of big moves, but I think there’s a line [for the title]. I don’t think he’s first in line.
“I’mma handle my business and defend the belt a couple of times, he’s going to handle his business. I’m sure he’ll get two or three more wins, maybe hightlight reel wins, maybe sturdy wins against solid wrestlers who he can show he’s worked on his takedown defense, or whatever. But, he’s going to do his thing, I’m going to do my thing, I’m sure we will match up one day. I’m sure it will be for my UFC belt. I don’t know if it’ll be next, but I’m sure it’ll happen.”
What Henderson’s saying makes sense to an extent when you consider that he himself had to notch up three wins in a row before being granted his title shot, while Pettis lost his first UFC bout against Clay Guida and now rallied with a couple of victories of late.
I don’t agree with the notion that Pettis needs two or three more victories, but ideally being paired up with a top contender next would solidify him as a genuine title contender, while perhaps the winner of the ‘UFC On FOX 3’ main event between Nate Diaz and Jim Miller could challenge ‘Smooth’ for the title in the mean time.
However, bearing in mind that Pettis had been lined up to fight Frankie Edgar for the title after moving over to the UFC as the WEC’s champ last year before having to step back so that Edgar could rematch Gray Maynard, I wouldn’t complain if the promotion does go ahead and book the fight, and there’s no doubt it would be a barnburner.
Watch Henderson’s full post-fight interview below courtesy of MMAfighting.com.