Benson Henderson vs. Frankie Edgar: Each Fighter's Defining MMA Moment
The main event of UFC 150 will feature Benson Henderson and Frankie Edgar in a rematch to determine the UFC lightweight champion.
After making an improbable run to lightweight dominance, Edgar dropped a hotly contested decision to Henderson earlier this year. The bout was close enough to earn the former lightweight champ an instant rematch, which he will look to make the most of this Saturday night.
Henderson garnered a title shot against Edgar on the strength of a 3-0 UFC record, cashing in on the opportunity by out-muscling the smaller fighter for the better part of five rounds. He'll hope for a repeat performance at UFC 150, as he looks to move on to new blood in the UFC's stacked lightweight division.
To honor the combatants who will compete for lightweight gold at UFC 150, we take a look back at the defining moment of each fighter's MMA career.
Frankie Edgar's defining moment: Edgar defeats B.J. Penn at UFC 118 to retain his UFC lightweight championship title
Edgar arrived in the UFC as a marginal prospect, only gaining notice when he derailed the expected rise of Tyson Griffin at UFC 67. After that upset, Edgar went on to win two more fights before suffering the first defeat of his career, dropping a decision to Gray Maynard.
Not one to mope around, Edgar quickly began plotting his way back to the top, reeling off three straight wins and earning a title shot against incumbent divisional kingpin B.J. Penn.
Few gave Edgar much of a chance to beat Penn, but the New Jersey native outworked the Hawaiian legend to earn a decision victory. The fight was close enough that Penn received an immediate rematch, and entered the bout as a favorite for the second straight time.
The second bout between these two competitors marks the time when Edgar went from upstart contender with a pretender's belt to undisputed champion of the lightweight division. While a case could be made that the two spectacular recoveries Edgar made against Gray Maynard define his career equally well, it was the second decision-win over Penn that totally changed the way he is perceived as a mixed martial artist.
That win over Penn at UFC 118 was the first time Edgar headlined a pay-per-view, and was the last time anyone discounted his chances to beat a top competitor. From that point on, Edgar has become widely recognized as one of the top 155-pounders to walk the face of the Earth.
Benson Henderson's defining moment: Henderson defeats Frankie Edgar at UFC 144 to win the UFC lightweight championship title
By 2009, Henderson had established himself as one of the elite lightweights of the WEC. He even won the title in the WEC before losing it to Anthony Pettis in the promotion's final bout.
Though Henderson entered the UFC as a former top WEC competitor, not many people knew exactly what that accolade was worth. However, Smooth put any doubts to rest when he put in three straight victories in the UFC, earning himself a title shot at UFC 144.
For all the success Henderson has found in MMA, none of his other accomplishments even come close to winning the UFC lightweight title.
He has yet to defend the belt, and perhaps that will afford him the opportunity to match or exceed what he has done, but for now, that moment is undoubtedly the pinnacle of his time in MMA.
And beyond just winning a UFC title in his first contest with Edgar, UFC 144 stands as the the apex of Bendo's career for a multitude of reasons. Edgar was the most accomplished fighter Henderson had ever taken on, headlining the UFC's return to Japan was by far the biggest stage Henderson had ever fought on, and the way he handled his quick and crafty opponent marks the best performance Henderson has ever put forth.
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