Jamie Varner vs Donald Cerrone 2 could be next for WEC with Ben Henderson hurt

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During last Saturday night's five-round, back-and-forth WEC 43 main event between Ben "Smooth" Henderson and Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone for the promotion's interim lightweight title, both fighters left absolutely everything they had inside the cage.

It was an epic battle for the ages and a surefire candidate for "Fight of the Year" honors.

For Henderson the win meant he had earned himself an opportunity to unify the 155-pound title with a showdown opposite injured champion, Jamie Varner, during a future WEC event set for "The Worn's" hometown of Phoenix, Ariz., in December.

It is a match up that would certainly have a great chance to live up to the high standard the WEC has set for main event fights so far in 2009.

However, Varner and Cerrone have waged a fierce verbal battle outside the cage since their initial encounter at WEC 38 earlier this year, which ended ugly (and early) via split decision because of fifth round foul from which Varner could not recover. He got the win from the judges, but he was ridiculed in the court of public opinion for how he handled the decision afterward.

So it seemed that with a win over Cerrone, Henderson had spoiled the chances of there being a grudge match anytime soon between "Cowboy" and Varner.

Not so fast.

It now appears that the fight between Henderson and Varner has possibly been put on hold. And there's a chance that "Cowboy" could be stepping in as a replacement for Henderson, who suffered extreme dehydration after the fight last weekend.

In fact, Henderson reportedly collapsed in the locker room shortly after the match and was rushed to more than one hospital, needing multiple IVs to recover.

In addition, Henderson injured his left eye after eating an upkick in the last minute of the fight that split it open that will need time to heal.

Perhaps more time than the WEC is willing to wait.

Earlier today on ESPNs "MMA Live," guest host and teammate of Donald Cerrone at Greg Jackson's Submission Fighting, Rashad Evans, had this to say when asked if it looked like Henderson and Varner would still be fighting in December to unify the belts even in spite of "Smooth's" medical issues:

"No it doesn't, and it looks like "Cowboy" is going to go ahead and get the fight with Varner."

Interesting "unofficial" news if it is indeed true. And either way, the promotion is in a win-win situation -- Varner, Cerrone and Henderson all fighting, regardless of the order, have all the ingredients for more fireworks.

Stay tuned to MMAmania.com for more on this developing story.

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