Instant rematches have been the norm over the last few years in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) ranks. So when Bruce Buffer read the judges' scorecards announcing that Ben Henderson had dethroned then UFC Lightweight champion Frankie Edgar to become the new division kingpin at UFC 144 this past Feb. 26, 2012, talks of an instant rematch began to simmer.
Though "Smooth" nabbed the unanimous decision according to the Octagon-side judges, many believed that the bout was much closer than that, including Frankie Edgar and UFC President Dana White, who both felt that "The Answer" had done enough to retain his 155-pound strap.
In defeating Edgar, Henderson had done what Gray Maynard and B.J. Penn could not do in Edgar's last four contests, which is defeat the New Jersey native. Four being the magic number, should immediately let those who don't already know that Edgar was involved in two consecutive rematches already.
After winning the lightweight title from "The Prodigy" at UFC 112, the powers that be over at Zuffa granted Penn an immediate rematch to reclaim his strap. At UFC 118, the Hawaiian came up short yet again against Edgar, erasing any doubt as to which of the two was the better fighter.
After fighting to a draw against Gray Maynard at UFC 125: "Resolution," "The Answer" defeated "The Bully" in the rematch at UFC 136 nine months later by knocking him out in the fourth round. So when Edgar lost his belt to Henderson in "The Land of the Rising Sun," It was only fair that the UFC matchmakers give him an immediate rematch, too.
Henderson seems to thinks so, but he also believes that the outcome will be the same the next time around, and eight more times after that, in fact.
Make the jump to hear Henderson's explanation (via Bloody Elbow):
"Who knows? I think a part of that is Dana White being the big boss man and head honcho, scored the fight another way. He felt that fight warranted an immediate rematch, which is fine by me. It's cool. It was a fun fight for me. I had a good time in there. As far as running it back, by all means, let's do it. We can run it back 10 times, but 10 times out of 10 times, I intend on having the same outcome, if not ending the fight earlier. In my opinion, that's a really tough spot to be in, as a champ. Frankie did it twice. He said, 'Yeah, that's fine. Let's do it. It was a close decision, so let's run it back.' He showed what he has inside, by agreeing to that. I want to be the same way. I want to show what I have inside, and agree to it. Let's run it back. I have no problem with that at all."
After "Smooth" dethroned Edgar in Saitama, it was widely believed that had the rematch not been booked, Anthony Pettis would be the best option to challenge the newly crowned champion.
After all, "Showtime had just knocked out Joe Lauzon with an impressive head kick earlier in the evening and is also the last man to defeat Henderson, taking away his World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) 155-pound title back at WEC 53 in Dec. 2010.
Though Pettis vs. Henderson 2 will have to wait, Henderson says that he isn't sleeping on the rematch one bit:
"I'm definitely not going to sleep on Pettis. That boy is explosive, he's very skilled, he's very driven. I'm not going to sleep on his skillset or anything he brings to the table. He had a tough fight. He had some holes that got exposed, but I'm sure he's been working on those since. I'm sure he'll be way better in his next fight then he was in his last one. Other than seeing how much heart a guy has, I like to see how much better they get from fight to fight. For me, I always want to be a better fighter than my last fight. Pettis is also one of those guys. He is a better fighter, with each fight, and I think he's going to continue that."
"Smooth" and "The Answer" are set to tangle in the main event of UFC 150 on Aug. 11, 2012, in Denver, Colo., in what will hopefully be the end for immediate rematches for Edgar ... and the division. Then again, should Edgar reclaim his title, there is always the possibility of a third fight to complete the trilogy.
What are the chances of that happening?