Storied mixed martial arts (MMA) legend, Dan Henderson, came up short in his quest to keep pace in the light heavyweight title hunt, following a close split decision loss to former division kingpin Rashad Evans (watch it here) at last night's (June 15, 2013) UFC 161 pay-per-view (PPV) event at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
It was his second straight defeat to a former 205-pound titleholder.
But Henderson will probably still get the chance to fight reigning division champion Jon Jones anyway. True, UFC President Dana White said that statistically, the loser of Saturday night's headliner will never get close to another title shot, but we know better by now.
A lot better.
Remember when Nick Diaz was promoted to a title fight against Georges St. Pierre? Losing to Carlos Condit by way of split decision -- then sitting on the bench for a year for pot -- did nothing to derail his crack at the crown. Yes, Alexander Gustafsson is already booked to bang with "Bones" this September (details here).
"The Mauler" could get hurt (wouldn't be the first time) and it's not like "Hendo" was finished in either of his two previous losses. In fact, I'm sure the fan base is divided over his splits to "Suga" and "The Dragon," which can be credibly argued in favor of "Hendo." It also helps that the former Olympian was already in position to fight Jones back at UFC 151, before he got hurt.
"The Phenom" failed, but paved the way for perennial instigator Chael Sonnen, who did about as much as the Brazilian did in the 205-pound weight class to earn a crack at the crown, which is a whole lot of nothing. But what they did have, was a large contingent of fans and solid name value.
Just like Henderson, a "fresh" challenger who benefits from having never fought for the strap.
You don't have to win a bunch of fights in a row to get a title shot these days. All you need is a recognizable name, a decent array of highlights and some good, old-fashioned promotional hype, or "wolf tickets" as they're referred to in the 209.
Or an untimely injury (like this one).
There's also no telling when Jones will abandon his post at 205 pounds to try his luck at heavyweight. Assuming he can break Tito Ortiz's record of successful title defenses, "Bones" may jump ship sooner rather than later, opening the door for well, just about anyone.
If not, and by some freak occurrence no title contenders are bitten by the injury bug, there's always that Mauricio Rua rematch from late 2012, considered by some fans to be "Fight of the Year." Particularly if "Shogun" loses to "The American Gangster" (more on that here), as that will even them at two losses apiece.
Assuming "Hendo" hasn't already been named division number one contender by then.
For more on last night's UFC 161 event, including live results, fallout, videos, recaps, reactions and more, check out our comprehensive "Evans vs. Henderson" live stream by clicking here.