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Despite two wins over Frankie Edgar and a career record of 17-2, Benson Henderson hadn't caught on with the fans leading into his title defense against Nate Diaz in the main event of UFC on Fox 5.
Part of that was the simple fact that plenty of fans thought Edgar won at least one, and perhaps both, of his fights with Henderson. Some of it was likely due to Henderson's outspoken ways about his religion.
Whatever the case may be, it seems like the winds of change are finally blowing. In beating Diaz, Henderson put on the best performance of his tenure in the UFC with a completely dominant showing over a very tough, durable and popular fighter, even going so far as to score a 50-43 card with one judge. That kind of dominance is extremely rare in title fights, and it goes to show just how good Henderson actually is.
What's next for the champion? Ideally, he would take a few months off and then defend the belt against current Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez. Strikeforce is widely believed to be folding in January after one final event, and Melendez will make his way to the UFC. It makes plenty of sense, and it's the fight I would book as long as it's available.
If Melendez won't be ready in time, then a second option is nearly as intriguing: the winner of January's bout between Donald Cerrone and Anthony Pettis. He may not say it publicly these days, but Henderson is pining for a chance to set the record straight with Pettis.
PREDICTION: Henderson faces Gilbert Melendez