The UFC lightweight title picture got a little more cloudy today.
Prior to today’s UFC on FOX 3 press conference, it was believed that the next lightweight title shot would either go to Frankie Edgar or Anthony Pettis. Well, it seems Nate Diaz and Jim Miller may also be in the running as well. In response to questions about where Diaz and Miller fit into the picture, Dana White stated that the winner would get a title shot. Dana’s comments via MMA Weekly.
“Well, I’m still obviously still dealing with the whole Frankie Edgar thing. I’m talking to Frankie and we’ll figure this thing out,” White said, before adding, “We did, we said the winner of (Diaz vs. Miller) would get the shot.”
Pressed further by a fan, who asked, “From what I remember, the winner of Jim Miller facing Nate Diaz gets a title shot, is this correct?” White responded, “This is correct.”
What’s not clear is if Dana meant the Diaz-Miller winner would get the next title or just a title shot later this year. As you may recall, Dana had previously stated at the UFC 144 post-fight press conference that he “thinks” Anthony Pettis will get first crack at Henderson, but he didn’t even mention him today.
Meanwhile, the champ maintains that he’s still willing to fight whoever the UFC puts in front of him, but he does have his opinions about who that should be. And judging by his comments on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani yesterday, Frankie Edgar should be at the front of line.
“Frankie had a very tough situation,” Henderson admitted. “He had a rough road with two rematches right away after his title defenses. So the fan in me feels that he deserves (the rematch). He had to put himself on the line, I don’t want anybody coming back to me and saying ‘oh, Henderson didn’t want to rematch Frankie because he was scared.’ I’m more than willing to give Frankie a rematch. Let’s do it. Set it up for tomorrow.”
The one rematch Henderson still isn’t crazy about though, at least not now, is Anthony Pettis. He still thinks Pettis needs more wins to establish himself as the true number one contender.
“Does someone who has a split-decision over someone who is not ranked, and then has a pretty good win against the No. 10 guy, is he deserving of a title shot because of those two wins? Or is he deserving of a title shot because he beat me last?”
“Do I want to face Pettis again? Absolutely,” Henderson explained. “We will see each other again. Before I retire, before I die, I’m going to see Anthony Pettis again. But it’s not my job to give him a title shot. It’s not up to me be like, ‘oh hey, I want to fight this guy. Lets go see this guy.’ It’s his job to work his way up to me. I can’t jump the line and not fight the No. 1 contender, and then go fight the No. 4 guy or No. 3 guy or No. 10 guy.”
Bottom line though, Henderson says he really “doesn’t care” who he fights because he’s going to “smash” everyone anyways.
To summarize, the lightweight title picture is kind of a mess. It’s a problem the UFC will have to sort out no doubt, but it’s certainly a better problem to have than the one they have with Jose Aldo — not having any clear contenders at all.