Although he earned number one contender status in the light heavyweight division with his unanimous decision victory over Mauricio Rua at UFC on Fox 5: "Henderson vs. Diaz" last night (Dec. 8, 2012) in Seattle, Washington, Alexander Gustafsson may have to take another fight in the meantime.
And that fight might come against Lyoto Machida at UFC 157 on Feb. 23 in Anaheim, California, in what would likely be yet another number one contender fight.
That's what UFC President Dana White is saying in the aftermath of last night's show, telling FUEL TV that if Dan Henderson's knee continues to be a bother, "The Mauler" is the man he would ask to step in to face "The Dragon."
"Henderson, I keep hearing his knee isn't better right now, so maybe (Gustafsson) gets a fight with Machida."
Gustafsson would tell reporters at the UFC on Fox 5 post-fight press conference that although his preference is to fight for the title next, he's not opposed to taking another fight before then. He also said he'll fight "whoever the UFC gives me."
This is all well and good, and a match-up like Gustafsson vs. Machida is a juicy one, but what does Henderson have to say about all this? After all, he hasn't pulled out of the bout yet and if we're to believe his Twitter, he's on track to fulfill his obligations.
"Not sure where (Dana White) thinks he's hearing that my knee isn't doing ok. It's doing great. Slowly picking training up just like I do for every training camp."
The memory of UFC 151 is undoubtedly still fresh in White's mind, so he's likely just playing it safe and publicly putting a back-up plan in place in the event everything doesn't go as smoothly as it's supposed to.
With all the injuries in MMA lately, it would almost be a shock if it does.
Which fight would you prefer to see, Maniacs? Gustafsson vs. Machida or Henderson vs. Machida?