enough ammunition to help Edgar convince White that a rematch was in order. Come
Saturday night's UFC 150, he gets
his second chance. Now, here's where things get a little tricky. Because the
lightweight title belt has been involved in a rematch three times in a row,
White has said enough is enough. So even if the champion Henderson loses a
razor-close, controversial decision, the division and belt will move on, and
he'll have to work his way back up.
That, of course, doesn't seem particularly fair, even
if it may be necessary.
But don't count Henderson among those who have
any concerns about White's decision. Asked if it faced him with any more
pressure, he dismissed the question.
"No, not really," he said during a
recent media call. "Not at all. Dana White is Dana White. He can say what he
wants to say and that’s cool. I have no problem with it, but I want to win my
next fight no matter what. Whether he says, 'Oh, if you lose you're out of the
UFC, or if you lose your next fight, you'll be cut, or if you lose your next
fight, you'll have to go to 170, or whatever it is if you lose your next fight,
I want to win my next fight, period. Very badly.
"I think you guys
sometimes don't understand the desire behind fighters and wanting to win our
next fight," he continued. "I don't care about all the other stuff. I just want
to win my next fight, period. I don't care what the add-ons are on top of
Fighters often have to play a complex set of mental gymnastics
when it comes to their personal goals. Henderson, for example, has openly
discussed a hope of earning the spot as the world's top pound-for-pound fighter.
He did so
as far back as 2010, when he wasn't even yet on the UFC roster. That is
obviously a title that cannot be earned in one night. Instead, it's a mythical
crown that is bestowed after years of success. Each win is a building block, and
each loss is a stumbling block.
As fights near, fighters divorce
themselves from such thoughts. The immediacy of the action in front of you must
command attention due to the inherent danger involved. Consideration of
"add-ons," in Henderson's words, is simply misdirected focus. And Henderson will
clearly need that focus and energy to repeat his UFC
That night, Henderson out-pointed Edgar by scores of
49-46, 49-46 and 48-47, brilliantly using his footwork to cut off the cage and
open up his own striking lanes while limiting Edgar's escape routes.
rematch may well be won by the fighter who can execute the most effective
adjustments from the first meeting. For his part, Henderson said he thinks
fundamentals -- combined with execution -- could make the difference.
this level, fights are so close, fighters are so tough, fighters are so good, so
well-prepared, a lot of times it boils down to who shows up that night," he
said. "Maybe you have an off-night and don't perform at your best. Some guys
have bad basketball games. They don't have a great performance at a game. Lucky
for them, they have 82 games a season to redeem themselves and what not. For us,
for fighters, we have to be on top of our game every time we go out. It's not
just another game, like baseball or basketball. For fighters, if we have a bad
performance -- this is for a world title -- there’s not a whole lot of
In Edgar's case, this time, there is a re-do. But Henderson? His
reality is more urgent. He needs to win or be left behind.