Ben Henderson took a unanimous decision win over Frankie Edgar on Saturday night to capture the UFC lightweight title. The decision was controversial for some fans although most seem to think it was the right one.
The question now seems to be whether Edgar gets an immediate rematch as his past opponents did when he beat them, or whether he should drop to featherweight as UFC president Dana White has been pressuring him to do for so long.
Here's what the Fighters Only team think:
Editor, Fighters Only and Train Hard, Fight Easy
I don’t believe there should be any other outcome than an immediate rematch – if Frankie decides to remain at 155lb. Whether he should is a different matter. As the UFC commentary team pointed out, it looked like guys from two different weight divisions colliding in Japan. Henderson’s legs alone look like they weighed more than Edgar’s entire body... But the fight was very close, and the result could of gone either way.
And don’t let the both fighters’ mug shots at the press conference afterwards kid you into thinking Ben Henderson’s not sore this morning too. Edgar was a great champion, registering some of the UFC’s standout performances during his title reign. To lose the belt in such a close contest doesn’t sit right. He deserves the rematch much more than anybody else deserves to step into contention.
Fighters Only Consultant Editor, MMA Correspondent for The Daily Telegraph
It was a close fight. Very close in fact. I scored it 48-48 [Rd 1 Edgar; Rd 2 Henderson; Rd 3 10-10 even; Rd 4 Henderson; Rd 5 Edgar]. On that basis, an immediate re-match is viable in my book. But the UFC will want to market another contender.
That said, is Edgar now the number one contender in the division? I'd say yes, but Anthony Pettis merits a title shot, and so does Nate Diaz if he defeats Jim Miller. For me, the best solution is for Edgar to drop to 145, challenge Jose Aldo, and if he wins, give him a crack at the title again to become a concurrent two-weight world champion.
Assistant Editor, Fighters Only and Train Hard, Fight Easy
Ben Henderson’s brand-new UFC lightweight title reign is just. Bouts are judged on effective striking, grappling, aggression and ring control. Strikes are intended to cause damage, and comparing the combatants at each round’s close (Edgar’s bruises building; Henderson constantly clear), Henderson’s blows were more effective in their intent.
Add ‘Smooth’s guillotine attempts and knockdowns, as well as his aggression from the centre of the ring, and the judges’ verdict is perfectly understandable.
There is an argument for Edgar – he landed good shots and a landslide share of the bout’s takedowns – but it’s simply not stronger than Henderson’s.
It’s too early for Edgar to consider dropping 10lb to featherweight, besides he’d surely relish another crack at Henderson after a handful of victories. Regardless of whether Benson next meets Pettis or the victor of Nate Diaz vs Jim Miller, the real story is Henderson as the UFC’s first champion of Korean descent – a market that has steadily courted MMA throughout Asia’s tempestuous relationship with the sport.
Fighters Only Website Editor
I wasn’t happy with the result to be honest. I think Henderson was very, very lucky that his upkick early in the fight did as much visible damage as it did, because I think the judges must have put a lot of stock in the blood pouring from the bridge of Edgar’s nose.
There has been heated debate about statistics supposedly showing that Henderson outstruck Edgar. That conclusion can be reached only by careful filtering of the numbers. Consideration of the full set of FightMetric statistics shows that it was actually Edgar who landed more telling 'power' blows and had a higher attack rate and percentage of successful attacks.
Henderson did have 131 attempts at striking the head, but Henderson’s jab is horrendous so that doesn't mean anything. He has his arm flared out sideways at a 90-degree angle and so the jab is literally an arm punch, and basically a forearm punch at that, powered by nothing more than the hinge of the elbow.
If Edgar took a lot of those, who can fault him? They will have been little more than an annoyance to him. And actually they would not count as jabs at all for the purposes of Olympic boxing scoring. So if they were counted as ‘significant strikes’, well…
Fighters Only Assistant Editor
Personally, I don't think it was a controversial victory. Was it a close fight? Definitely. Both men battled valiantly for each round, which made it a close call. The real problem is the judging in MMA. Even though I believe that Henderson won the bout 48-47, it's a lack of consistency in judging that creates debates like this.
I feel that Henderson controlled the pace, caused the most damage and had multiple near finishes. Henderson landed 174 strikes compared to Edgar's 136. However, Edgar had the more significant strikes, according to Fight Metric. What do you think counts the most?
I propose that the judges are allowed to see the Fight Metric statistics, so they can add that information to what they've seen in the cage that night and so they have a more statistical picture of what occurred.