Former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson has kept a pretty low profile since losing his title at UFC 164 against Anthony Pettis, but it appears as though he has an opponent in mind for his return. Henderson, who suffered a first-round submission loss to “Showtime”, is chomping at the bit to get back into the title mix and is hoping to fight no. 5-ranked Rafael dos Anjos. Henderson made his preference known during an appearance on the MMA Hour.
Henderson is on the comeback trail and hopes to return in February, and a fight against the talented Brazilian would make a lot of sense. Dos Anjos’s stock has never been higher as he has shot up the 155 pound rankings thanks to a five-fight win streak. His latest effort was one of the more impressive of his career as he posted a decision victory over the always tough Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.
For his part, Dos Anjos would likely welcome the challenge. A victory against someone with the credentials of Henderson would leave dos Anjos in definite lightweight title contention.
Henderson has lost only three times in his career, and a pair of those defeats have come at the hands of Pettis. “Smooth” originally won the title at UFC 144 against Frankie Edgar and made successful title defenses against Edgar, Nate Diaz and Gilbert Melendez before the Pettis loss.
There’s no doubt he will be an interested observer in what happens December 14 when Pettis makes his first title defense against Josh Thomson. If Pettis wins, it would likely be bad news for Henderson, as he’s already lost twice to Pettis with the last fight being more decisive than the first. If Thomson were to emerge victorious, Henderson would likely immediately insert himself into the title hunt if he were to make an impressive return and put together a win or two.
A matchup between two top-five contenders would feature some interesting storylines. The former champ Henderson on a quest to begin his pursuit of capturing the gold again, up against a fighter in dos Anjos who seems to be at the top of his game. Hopefully, the UFC matchmakers can make the fight a reality.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports