Dana White: Benson Henderson not likely to earn UFC lightweight title shot
JAN 26, 2014 12:29a ET
FOX UFC Saturday’s main event was a No. 1 contender fight, right? Not so fast.
UFC president Dana White told FOX Sports in a post-fight interview that Benson Henderson is not likely to get a title shot against lightweight champion Anthony Pettis despite beating Josh Thomson by controversial unanimous decision in Chicago on Saturday night.
“No,” White said plainly when asked if Henderson was worthy of another title shot. “But, I mean, that was a Ben Henderson fight. ... We've seen that fight a million times.
"It's not about being more agressive. He's a talented fighter. He's just one of those guys -- he's a grinder, not a finisher."
Henderson lost his belt to Pettis in August via first-round armbar submission. He also lost to Pettis in the final WEC fight in December 2010. Henderson, 30, held the title for 18 months before that.
“I don’t think either guy really went after it and tried to pull out the win. ”
Thomson was supposed to fight Pettis in December, but the champ had to withdraw due to injury. Pettis is out until the summer, recovering from surgery to repair a torn PCL.
Henderson’s win Saturday night didn’t come without dispute. Many people felt Thomson should have come away with the victory on the judges’ cards. White called it a “typical” Henderson fight – and that’s true. Henderson has scored tight, five-round decision victories now over the likes of Thomson, Gilbert Melendez and Frankie Edgar (twice).
“If you had Henderson winning the fight, it wasn’t by that wide of a margin,” White later told KVVU FOX. “The fight was a lot closer. I don’t think either guy really went after it and tried to pull out the win.”
Though many people thought Thomson won, judge Sal D’Amato gave Henderson the nod, 49-46. White wasn’t too pleased with that, but blamed both Henderson and Pettis guys for not trying to finish.
“That’s insane,” White said of the score. “This is always a problem. My thing is, you guys both know you’re fighting for the chance to get a shot at the title, OK? you’re getting a shot at the title. You go. Go, go, go.
“Go for broke. Don’t ever leave it in the judges’ hands, or at least put on enough of a performance to know you won because you can never trust the judges.”