The lightweight division is officially screwed.
Ben Henderson was able to get back into the win column on Saturday night (Jan. 25, 2014) with a close split-decision win over Josh Thomson in the main event of UFC on FOX 10, which took place inside the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.
See our "Henderson vs. Thomson" live results and play-by-play here.
In doing so, "Smooth" kept himself at the top of the 155-pound rankings (see them here) and ultimately, close to a division title shot against Anthony Pettis. Unfortunately, he won't be getting it, due to the fact that "Showtime" already holds a 2-0 lead over his former WEC stablemate.
And "The Punk" -- who was supposed to be next in line -- is going back to the drawing board.
That unfortunate set of circumstances leaves the lightweight division without a number one contender, which is hard to believe considering the level of talent that occupies it. The quick and easy answer is to get T.J. Grant back into the number two spot after recovering from a concussion last fall.
But there has been nothing from the FitPlus camp that would indicate he's close to returning.
Gilbert Melendez is only one fight removed from an unsuccessful bid to capture the crown, Donald Cerrone was reduced to chopped liver by Pettis, Khabib Nurmagomedov has yet to beat a top 10 opponent and Nate Diaz ... well Nate needs to do more than use Gray Maynard for a punching bag.
The only saving grace is that Pettis is still riding the pine for the next few months (because of this) and even with a return date of July 5, 2014 (his estimate), we have plenty of time to start lining up potential candidates for a possible Fourth of July Weekend title fight.
I think the obvious pick is Melendez vs. Nurmagomedov.
"El Nino" is still working to finalize his contract but it's a fight his training partner, Jake Shields, believes will happen, despite the promotion's claim that "The Eagle" has been forced to fly alone. Outside of that, and perhaps a win for Rafael dos Anjos (No. 6) at UFC 170, the choices are few and far between.
Blame Bendo for that.