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Will UFC 150 Finally End the Stretch of Rematches in the Lightweight Division?

Written by Spencer Lazara. Posted in Top News

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Published on August 06, 2012 with No Comments

Written by: Rob Tatum – Photo courtesy of Rob Tatum

April 10, 2010 marked the first time the New Jersey native Frankie Edgar competed for UFC gold. After his UFC 150 main event against Benson Henderson on Aug. 11, “The Answer” will have had six straight title fights inside the Octagon. The catch? He will have faced just three opponents over that stretch.

Regardless of whether Edgar can beat Henderson and recapture the 155-pound strap, Edgar’s reign atop the division will always be synonymous with the multiple rematches he has endured. Certainly other champions have fought rematches with prior opponents, but this is the first time in UFC history that one fighter has experienced them back-to-back-to-back.

It all began against B.J. Penn at UFC 112. Edgar claimed a unanimous decision over the longtime champion, but a questionable 50-45 scorecard in Edgar’s favor submitted by judge Douglas Crosby created a fan uproar, helping earn Penn another shot at UFC 118. In that meeting, Edgar was the clear victor and it appeared that the division would return to normal.

However, when Edgar faced Gray Maynard at UFC 125, an epic battle produced a draw and necessitated yet another rematch. It took nearly 10 months for both competitors to meet again, but Edgar decisively finished Maynard at UFC 136 and earned the opportunity to face a new challenger.

At UFC 144 in Japan, Edgar met his match in the former WEC champion Henderson. Henderson’s size and power proved to be too much for Edgar, as Henderson claimed a unanimous decision win and the belt.

Finally the stretch of rematches was over, right?

Wrong. Edgar and his camp politicked for another crack at the new champion. After all, he had endured the same situation as champion. The promotion obliged Edgar, leading us to UFC 150: Edgar vs Bendo II.

The more than two-year stretch has created a logjam for contenders. The final WEC champion, Anthony Pettis, opted not to wait for the outcome of Edgar-Maynard despite a promised title shot. The choice cost the Wisconsin native as he fell to Clay Guida. However, Pettis has rebounded and is again making an argument for a chance at UFC gold.

Ultimate Fighter winner Nate Diaz is currently in a similar situation as Pettis, but has opted to wait in the wings to challenge Edgar-Henderson winner. After defeating Jim Miller in May, Diaz is hopeful that, barring another rematch, his title shot will come before year’s end.

At some point, the rematches will end, but the promotion has set a strange precedence for how it is handling the division. Dana White told MMAinterviews that Ben Henderson is in a position where if he loses he would not be granted the trilogy fight straight away, so August 11th should finally end the rematches for now, barring a draw of course.

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