Eleven months ago, Ben Henderson (Pictured) found himself on the wrong end of a highlight-reel strike that ultimately cost him his WEC title and a shot at UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar.
The opportunity was supposed to go to Anthony Pettis, who unleashed the unforgettable cage kick on Henderson, but a controversial draw between Edgar and Gray Maynard at UFC 125 put Pettis on the backburner and forced him to take a fight against Clay Guida.
Henderson, on the other hand, would be blended in with the other 155-pounders and have to work his way up the totem pole when the UFC absorbed the WEC.
Pettis was thoroughly outwrestled by Guida in their matchup and lost his place in line, while Henderson managed to collect two wins in the big leagues and earn a top contender bout against Guida.
With the chance to erase last year’s lost opportunity, Henderson beat Guida on Saturday in one of the most entertaining scraps in recent history to secure his next dibs status. Although Bendo took the scenic route in scoring a title fight against Edgar, he believed that fate would eventually lead him down the right path.
“You never want to look past an opponent – especially an opponent as dangerous as Guida – but you start hearing rumors and of course you always have your eye on the No. 1 guy,” Henderson said after his unanimous decision victory over the weekend. “You have your eye on whoever has the belt.
“I knew at some point in time I was hoping I would get a chance to face [Edgar]. You could definitely say I was breaking down some film and watching him, seeing what I would do in this situation, what I would do in that situation.”
Edgar and Henderson will headline the UFC’s return to Japan on February 26th.