Well, that was something. So Ben Henderson wins another arguable decision. I'm not going to call it controversial, because I can see the argument for Henderson winning the fight. Personally, I scored it 48-47 Thomson, but I can easily understand the arguments going the other way. And this is the problem with Henderson. Extremely skilled, incredible athlete and able to do enough to win a decision over any lightweight not named Pettis. I don't think he lacks the tools to finish fights, but he doesn't seem to have a killer instinct or at least a desire to be a finisher. So what to do with the #1 ranked challenger when he's still far away from a rematch?
There are a few guys you could match him up with. Khabib Nurmagomedov is looking for a fight and no one else seems to want to go. If Rafael dos Anjos win his upcoming fight, he's certainly getting in the mix. TJ Grant, once healthy again, could be another option. The problem with any of these fighters is that I could easily see Henderson getting close, arguable or controversial decisions over all of them. And what is the point of that? All that does is eliminate a challenger for the belt and doesn't do much to earn Henderson another crack at Pettis. Henderson would have to finish someone to get Joe Silva and Dana White back on his side for a rematch with Showtime. But is the chance he really goes for it worth risking sending another potential contender back down the ladder?
I think the best option for Henderson is to rematch Thomson. It was a close fight and Thomson fought most of it with a broken hand. The loss, whether you agree with it or not, has put Thomson out of title contention anyway. If Henderson heard some of Dana White's post-fight comments, he has to know it is not good when the boss says, "That was a Ben Henderson fight, what are you going to do?" If you run this fight back and one of the two is able to secure a finish, that actually seriously raises that guy's stock. If it's another close decision, you don't gain anything, but you really lose nothing from a divisional stand point. The only problem is selling this fight to the fans. Although one could argue selling any Henderson fight is going to be tough given his history of unsatisfying outcomes. You'd want it to be five rounds, but main eventing another Fox card is out. Maybe a Fight Night card or TUF Finale on Fox Sports 1. Hopefully, the demotion would light a fire in Bendo or the second chance would give Thomson the extra drive to do more. But the idea of Ben Henderson squeaking by, and eliminating, every other contender, while failing to earn another title shot, just sucks.