Former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson won his second in a row, submitting Rustam Khabilov via submission in the fourth round at UFC Fight Night 42 on Saturday. Just a couple of days after the fight, and Henderson is back in the gym already.
It is hardly unbeknownst to fans that Henderson is one of the hardest working UFC fighters on the roster, but this is quite exceptional. While many fighters who win vital, high-profile match-ups decide to take a vacation post-fight, the former WEC champion is constantly working on improving.
With two losses to current champion Anthony Pettis, who fights Gilbert Melendez next after coaching TUF 20 alongside him, Henderson still has a little way to go before he could fight for the title again. Wins over Josh Thomson and Rustam Khabilov since losing his title have kept ‘Smooth’ in the hunt for a title shot, and it could just take one more win for Henderson to stake his claim.
Back in April 2013, Benson Henderson defeated Gilbert Melendez, defending his lightweight title for the third time. If Melendez is able to get past Pettis in their upcoming title fight, a rematch with Henderson is viable to say the least, especially considering the close nature of their first contest. With many scoring that fight in Melendez’s favour and Henderson’s continuous improvements, a second fight between the two would be appealing to many.
If Anthony Pettis defends his title, however, then this puts a real question mark on the lightweight division. After both Josh Thomson and TJ Grant were promised title shots and neither transpired, and the emergence of top contenders such as Khabib Nurmagomedov and Michael Johnson, there are plenty of upcoming contenders for Pettis to face. Despite Henderson being a top fighter with a number of top names on his resumé, the fact remains that he has been defeated by the champion twice.
Who would you like to see Henderson fight next? Comment below or send a tweet to @cagepagesfs.
Guess who is back in the gym? pic.twitter.com/9xHB9NC86V
— The MMA LAB (@TheMMALAB) June 9, 2014