White: No title shot for Henderson

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Josh Thomson had been scheduled to fight Anthony Pettis for the lightweight championship at UFC on FOX 9, but Pettis injured his knee. Rather than wait around for Pettis to heal, Thomson took the fight Saturday night with Benson Henderson at UFC on FOX 10.

Thomson suffered a broken hand or thumb in the second round, and lost to Henderson, ending his hopes for a title shot any time soon.

However, just because you beat Jesse James by controversial Split Decision, doesn't mean you are Jesse James.

UFC president Dana White was asked post-fight if the win Saturday would earn Henderson a title shot.

“No,” said White, as transcribed by MMAFighting. “But, I mean, that was a Ben Henderson fight. When Ben Henderson has the title, or he's trying to get back to the title, that's a Ben Henderson fight. I mean, we've seen that fight a million times.

“It's not about even being more aggressive. He's a talented fighter. He's just one of these guys — he's a grinder, he's not a finisher.”

“Ben Henderson lost twice to Pettis, the champion, and he got destroyed last fight. He didn’t do anything that’s going to have anybody screaming, ‘Oh, I want to see him get another shot at Pettis.’”

There was a lot of uncertainty before Bruce Buffer read off the scores:
“Judge Gabriel Sabaitis scores the bout 48-47, Thomson”
“Judge Brian Puccillo scores the bout 48-47, Henderson”
“And Judge Sal D’Amato scores the bout 49-46, for the winner by Split Decision……….Benson “Smooth” Henderson!”

White conceded that the fight was close, took pointed issue with D’Amato's score.

“That’s insane,” White said of the score. “This is always a problem.

“My thing is, you guys both know you’re fighting for the chance to get a shot at the title, OK? you’re getting a shot at the title. You go. Go, go, go. Go for broke. Don’t ever leave it in the judges’ hands, or at least put on enough of a performance to know you won because you can never trust the judges.”

With the decision, there is no clear #1 contender:
•T.J. Grant is still out as a recovers from a freak concussion suffered during grappling practice;
•Henderson was insufficiently impressive;
•Thomson lost;
•Gilbert Melendez lost a title shot last year and has only a single win since, albeit a thrilling one over Diego Sanchez;
•Donald Cerrone was taken out in under three minutes by Pettis last year;
•Khabib Nurmagomedov does not yet have a win over a top 10 opponent; and,
•Nate Diaz is 1-2 his last three fights, with losses to both Thomson and Henderson.

So who do you think is going to get the next title shot?