The last time the UFC traveled to Atlantic City, NJ, was June 4, 2005. The promotion will return to the Jersey-shore city on June 22, when they present UFC on FX 4, from the as yet-to-be-opened Revel Casino. Headlining that event will be lightweight competitors Gray Maynard and Clay Guida.
Both fighters are coming off losses in their last bouts. Guida fell to now-UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson, while Maynard was knocked out by the man that Henderson defeated for that crown, Frankie Edgar. The 155-pound weight division is arguably the deepest in the UFC, and two consecutive losses, no matter who the opponent is, could result in a long climb back up the contender ladder.
Making this fight even more important is the fact that Nate Diaz and Jim Miller, two of the other top competitors at 155, will fight in the main event at UFC on FOX 3, which will take place on May 5. Add former WEC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis into the mix and you see that there is strong competition at the top of the lightweight division.
That top-contender logjam will have some time to sort itself out, as the next title fight will be a rematch between Henderson and Edgar, a fight that is tentative for some time this summer.
So, with five fighters looking to face the winner of that Henderson-Edgar rematch, one can see how important an impressive victory is. That fact is not lost on Maynard, who, before losing to Edgar, fought the champion to a draw in a title fight at UFC 125. Speaking to Heavy.com about the UFC lightweight division, the man nicknamed “The Bully” had this to say:
“The lightweight division is like a drama. It is like a good soap opera that draws you in because it’s not built up off bulls**t hype. There is no fake build-up where guys are talking a bunch of s**t in order to get fan’s attention. It’s all in the actual fights people are seeing, and it is the most competitive weight class in the UFC, hands down. The skill and heart displayed in our division is without comparison. We go out there, put it all on the line and get after it from bell to bell.”
The UFC lightweight soap opera will play out over the three aforementioned fights in the next several months. As far as Pettis, he will undergo shoulder surgery shortly, but that does not mean he is out of the mix, as he was rumored to be the man Henderson would be defending his title against before Edgar was rewarded a rematch.
With five fighters all vying for a shot at the winner of that rematch, it will be very interesting to see who stands at the front of the pack when UFC matchmaker Joe Silva looks to book the next UFC lightweight title fight.