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Will A Win Over Rafael Dos Anjos Be Enough To Give Ben Henderson A Title Shot?
Former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson will attempt to take his tenth win inside the Octagon this weekend when he meets the highly-skilled Rafael Dos Anjos in the main event of UFC Fight Night 49.
If he’s able to win on Saturday, it will mark his third-straight win over a top lightweight. Just prior to that he lost his 155 pound strap to the division’s current champion, and Henderson’s arch-nemisis; Anthony “Showtime” Pettis.
It’s clear “Smooth” is one of the top fighters in the weight class but with his only two losses in the last four years coming at the hands of Pettis; will he be ready to face him again any time soon?
The champion has been unable to defend his crown since capturing it with a first round submission over “Bendo” at UFC 164. A knee injury was the original reason for Pettis’ absence, forcing him out of his planned bout against
Josh Thomson in December last year.
A match up with featherweight champion Jose Aldo was rumoured to be in the works next. But, talks of that fight were quickly stopped when it was revealed Pettis had been booked to face off against former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez. The bout would follow a season coaching on the set of The Ultimate Fighter 20.
While “Showtime” has been away, Henderson has kept the lightweight division rolling by taking out two top contenders in Thomson and Rustam Khabilov. If he makes it past RDA on Saturday, “Bendo” will have almost cleaned out the division’s top 5.
If it was anyone else, you could pretty much put your money on them getting a title shot. But, with Henderson having already lost his last two fights to Pettis, the UFC are probably going to want a little more from him before he gets his trilogy.
That might not be too much of a bad thing for “Bendo” though, if he does win on Saturday it will be over three months until Pettis vs. Melendez goes down. That gives him plenty of time to sign up and possibly even have his next fight.
He may not be next in line with his current streak but it would be hard for the UFC to stop him if he added a guy like Khabib Nurmagomedov to his name.