Henderson vs. Pettis 2: Why Potential Rematch Must Happen Eventually

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistSeptember 1, 2013

Aug 31, 2013; Milwaukee, WI, USA;  Benson Henderson (right) fights Anthony Pettis during the UFC-164 bout at BMO Harris Bradley Center. at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

When Anthony Pettis (17-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC) defeated Benson Henderson (19-3 MMA, 7-1 UFC) via submission Saturday night at UFC 164, the possibility of a third bout had the fans of the sport salivating.

Dana White and the UFC matchmakers must make this superfight happen.

There will be no immediate rematch as both fighters contend with injuries. Henderson’s elbow “popped” during the submission finish, and Pettis is dealing with knee issues, per UFC. The company would likely not give Henderson the first shot anyway despite his seven wins in a row coming into Saturday.

This now marks the second time Pettis has defeated Henderson—the new champion beat him at WEC 53 for the title in 2010—and officials will want the former titleholder to earn his way back into the No. 1 contender picture. 

With both of the previous installments in this feud being instant classics with entertaining endings, there is no downside for the UFC when making another potential battle happen.

The key will be Henderson staying focused and winning his way back into contention. If Pettis and Henderson square off again for the title, the circumstances will be much different.

Pettis has always been the man chasing the title, but the next fight would feature the new champion coming off at least one successful title defense. Henderson would have to fight in a title eliminator before getting another shot and should be refocused on regaining his championship.

The best possible scenario for the UFC would be a full role reversal. The fans would love to see what would happen with each man at a different position in their respective careers and how the matchup would unfold compared to the other two installments.

Trilogies are always easy to sell, and while this isn’t the typical three-part series (each fighter usually gets a win before the rubber match in the third bout), the fans would have no problem getting behind a guaranteed battle.

While it could be a year or more before Pettis and Henderson battle again, the eventual war in the Octagon would be a marquee bout that the UFC officials dream about.