Benson Henderson will have a lot to contemplate about his future after Saturday night as long as Anthony Pettis remains the UFC lightweight champion.
While Henderson walked into UFC 164 holding the title, he left the arena with a sore arm and watched Pettis exit with the 155-pound belt.
It was actually the second time Henderson's had to witness this exact scene.
In 2010 at the final WEC show, Henderson surrendered his title that night to Pettis as well before the promotion folded and both fighters ended up in the UFC.
Now with Henderson suffering a first-round submission loss to Pettis in the rematch on Saturday at UFC 164, the chances of getting a third fight with the Milwaukee native are somewhere in the neighborhood of slim and none.
UFC president Dana White said after the conclusion of the UFC 164 post-fight press conference that two losses to the same fighter is bad enough, but the second fight was so definitive and one-sided that he just doesn't see a scenario for a part three to happen.
"That's definitely the case," White said about there being little chance for Pettis vs. Henderson 3 at this point. "We have a fight with Ben (Henderson) and Frankie (Edgar) where some people are like (it was close). There's no f—king denying who won this fight. It was a first round annihilation. Kind of like the Vitor (Belfort)/Anderson (Silva) thing."
The Silva vs. Belfort situation is one that happened just recently in the UFC's middleweight division. While Silva was still champion, Belfort had put together a few impressive wins at 185 pounds and was storming back to the top of the division.
The problem was that in 2011 when Belfort got his shot at Silva in the Octagon, the fight ended in a first-round knockout that remains one of the greatest highlights in UFC history. Silva landed a front kick straight to Belfort's mouth that sent him crashing to the canvas, and seconds later the fight was over.
Silva's destruction of Belfort is a hard image to erase, and despite his win streak, White always seemed reluctant to see them fight a second time after the first one ended in such emphatic fashion.
With Pettis submitting Henderson in the first round after already holding a win over him in a previous fight, White just doesn't see a third fight ever really happening between the two lightweight competitors.
So for now, Henderson can certainly target another lightweight title shot and work back into contention, but as long as Pettis is holding on to the belt, he's not likely to get another crack at the gold.
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report, and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.
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