UFC 144 was supposed to be the event where the UFC’s lightweight division straightened itself out. No more rematches, no more logjams at the top of the division and no more ifs, ands or buts. Just lightweight champion Frankie Edgar against No. 1 contender Benson Henderson.
The winner moves on to bigger and better things. The loser...wait in line.
But when have things ever been that easy?
Not only did the consummate professional and humble champion lose his title, but some would say Frankie Edgar lost it in controversial fashion. To further complicate matters, Anthony Pettis, a man who already has beaten the new champion, also won at UFC 144 and did so in spectacular fashion. The last WEC lightweight champion wasn’t shy in staking his claim to the next title shot.
In other words, there are more questions, more ifs, ands and buts than ever before.
Whether the lightweight division gets taken hostage by another rematch is certainly up for debate. There seems to be little doubt, however, that anyone other then Anthony Pettis or Frankie Edgar gets the next title shot.
Nate Diaz and Jim Miller’s matchup certainly seems fully capable of being a title eliminator fight, but that’s not for months, and the winner would then need even more time to recuperate, train and then fight. That’s too long for Henderson to wait.
Other top fighters: Gray Maynard, Clay Guida and Donald Cerrone are all coming off losses, the latter already scheduled to fight Jeremy Stephens and all three needing at least a couple more wins before being seriously considered for a title shot.
And for all the Gilbert Melendez fans out there: Sorry, but he’s not coming over anytime soon.
That brings the lightweight division back to two men: Frankie Edgar and Anthony Pettis. “The Answer” for the questions, or “Showtime” for a fresh face.