Benson Henderson successfully defended the UFC lightweight title for a second time this past Saturday night when he defeated Nate Diaz in the main event of UFC on FOX 5.
Henderson (18-2) was able to dominate the fight against Diaz for a unanimous decision win, which one of the judges scored the fight 50-43 and the other two judges scoring it 50-45.
He has now gone 6-0 in the UFC and the win over Diaz was his most impressive win in the organization. Now the question becomes, who will his next title defense be against.
Prior to Saturday’s fight card, UFC President Dana White said he did not know who would be next for the winner.
Henderson’s next opponent may be determined at UFC on FOX 6 on January 26th when the last WEC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis takes on Donald Cerrone. When the fight between Pettis and Cerrone was announced, it was believed that the fight would be a number one contenders bout.
Both Pettis and Cerrone have faced Henderson in the past with the bouts coming in the WEC. Pettis is the last person to defeat Henderson, when he defeated him at WEC 53 by unanimous decision and the fight was considered the fight of the year in 2010. Cerrone took on Henderson twice in the WEC with Henderson winning both fights with the first fight being decided by a decision and the second fight ending in the first round by submission.
It would appear that Pettis would be more likely to get a title shot with a win, since he has been promised a UFC title shot twice in his career. He was supposed to get a title shot when he entered the company, but that never happened. Then, White said that Pettis was in line for a shot after UFC 144, but Frankie Edgar received a rematch against Henderson and once again Pettis was passed over.
There would appear to be only one other fight that could leap frog Pettis or Cerrone and that would be current Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez.
He is currently recovering from a shoulder injury and may be in the UFC in the next couple of months, depending on the future of Strikeforce. If the Strikeforce fight card on January 12th is the final event for Strikeforce, it would seem that the UFC will have Melendez get an immediate shot at the title and unify the UFC and Strikeforce titles.
No matter who the UFC determines to be the number one contender bout, UFC fans should expect to see Henderson make his next title defense around April or May of 2013.