After UFC 139's main event between Dan Henderson and Shogun Rua that has already been hailed as an instant classic, one has to ask if maybe a rematch is the best thing for all parties involved.
While everybody can agree that it was a great fight, the decision will probably be disputed for a long time. Dan Henderson got the nod on all the scorecards of all three official judges at ringside, but the outcome was far from clear in the minds of so many fans and observers.
Many fans felt that Rua deserved at least a 10-8 final round that would have resulted in a draw for his stirring comeback effort. UFC President Dana White echoed that sentiment saying that he had the fight as a 47-47 draw.
Whatever your opinion on the actual scoring of the fight, I'm sure we can all agree that another five rounds of that wouldn't hurt. In fact, another five rounds of that would be pretty awesome.
But is there a better alternative for either fighter or the UFC?
Dan Henderson appears to be very close to a title shot against either Anderson Silva or Jon Jones, but both champions already have more interesting challengers lined up with Chael Sonnen at middleweight and both Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans at light-heavyweight.
If Henderson waits for a title shot he will presumably have to wait around at least seven or eight months, which is a long time for a 40-year-old.
Outside of a title fight, there isn't really any other super-interesting angle for Henderson other than Rua. Fights against Quinton Jackson and Forrest Griffin might be intriguing, but with both coming off one-sided losses, now isn't the best time.
Fights with up-and-comers like Mo Lawal, Gegard Mousasi and Phil Davis could be competitive, but none of them would provide a particularly marketable angle for the UFC.
The same scenarios apply for Rua. To me, there are only two fights that interest me for Rua, and they are rematches against Quinton Jackson and Dan Henderson.
Given that the Henderson fight was far more competitive than Shogun vs. Jackson, I'll take the Henderson rematch.
The other thing that I'd say is that the UFC would be wise to strike when the iron is hot.
When Quinton Jackson first fought Forrest Griffin, people were extremely excited about a rematch, but it never came together. If they fought now, much of the intrigue surrounding that belt has disappeared, especially considering how Griffin seems a shell of his former self.
Furthermore, at 40 years old, if Dan Henderson doesn't have this rematch now, he probably never will.
Yes, he'd be risking his title shot, but it's a risk well worth taking. For everybody involved.
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