benson-henderson-36.jpg(This story appeared in today’s print edition of USA TODAY.)

Ten minutes into Saturday’s five-round main event, UFC President Dana White already knew what was coming.

That is to say, he had no idea how it would end up, but he knew one way or another someone would go to bed feeling cheated.

“Literally, going into the third round, I said, ‘This fight’s going to be controversial,’” White said of the lightweight title bout between champion Benson Henderson (19-2 MMA, 7-0 UFC) and challenger Gilbert Melendez (21-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) at UFC on FOX 7 at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. “I gave the second round to Ben – I had it 1-1. I’m like, ‘Here we go again.’”?

Sure enough, there we went. For 25 minutes, Henderson and Melendez struggled back and forth in a fight so close the judges might as well have flipped a coin to determine the winner. In the end, Henderson retained his title by the slimmest of margins, winning his second split decision in three outings as the UFC’s 155-pound champion and leaving fans to wonder whether this is just part of the bargain when they sit down to watch the Arizona-based lightweight work.

As White said when shrugging off the immediate debate over the wide-ranging tallies on the judges’ scorecards, “It’s a Ben Henderson fight.”

It didn’t sound like a compliment.

Of the champions who manage to hang on to their titles long enough to do more than enjoy a cup of coffee with the belt, there seem to be two distinct varieties: the champions who beat their opponents, and the champions who beat them up.

Henderson is among the former. He squeaks by challengers. With a slightly less favorable outlook from the judges, he easily could have lost three of his past four, just as he could have easily dropped his title to Melendez if one judge had scored one round differently.

Then it would be his turn to bite down on his fist at the postfight news conference, as Melendez did, before shaking his head and saying, “I’m just heartbroken.”

That’s different from what we’re used to hearing from those who have tried and failed to take titles away from dominant UFC champions such as Anderson Silva or Jon Jones, who have a way of breaking their opponents’ faces along with their hearts.

Jones, the light heavyweight champion who Saturday takes on former middleweight contender Chael Sonnen at UFC 159 (10 p.m. ET, pay- per-view), is a perfect example of a champion with a knack for erasing all doubt by the time the last blow has landed.

He and Henderson both wear gold belts emblazoned with the same company logo, but there’s a clear difference between them.

One clings to his title by gradually persuading judges to lean his way.

The other makes the outcome so clear they can’t possibly miss it.

For complete coverage of UFC on FOX 7, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.

(Pictured: Benson Henderson)

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Bellator 165 results: Michael Chandler edges Benson Henderson to retain lightweight title

  • 20 days ago
  • 106 views

Bellator 165 takes place today, and you can join us for a live video stream and official results beginning at 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. PT).Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News, Videos read news >>

UFC Sao Paulo Quick Results: Bader Smashes Lil Nog in Rematch | FIGHTLAND

  • 20 days ago
  • 0 views

Photo by Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports The second card of the UFC’s Saturday double-header was UFC Fight Night 100, which occurred in sunny Sao Paulo, Brazil. The card, which was headlined by a light read news >>

UFC Belfast Quick Results: Mousasi Gets His Revenge | FIGHTLAND

  • 20 days ago
  • 4 views

Photo by Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports? Mousasi Stops Hall in the First, Asks for Elimination Bout or Title Fight Gegard Mousasi took just one round to get revenge over Uriah Hall in the main event read news >>

Bellator 165 highlights: How close was this Michael Chandler vs. Benson Henderson title fight?

  • 19 days ago
  • 550 views

Did Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler deserve the win over challenger Benson Henderson in Saturday’s Bellator 165 headliner?Filed under: Bellator, Featured, Featured Videos, News, Videos read news >>

UFC Fight Night 99 post-fight facts: Gegard Mousasi first to record 4 wins in 2016

  • 19 days ago
  • 12 views

The first half of the UFC’s Saturday doubleheader went down in Belfast, Northern Ireland, with the entire card streaming on UFC Fight Pass from SSE Arena.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Michael Chandler Still Bellator's Most Valuable Player, Edges Benson Henderson

  • 19 days ago
  • 12 views

Here's a new promotional strategy for Bellator MMA: Clone Michael Chandler. If the smaller fight company ever means to build itself into anything besides an occasional distraction from the UFC, it co read news >>

Dana White Outs Disgusting, Dirty Politics that Kept UFC Out of New York | MMAWeekly.com

  • 18 days ago
  • 12 views

UFC president Dana White thanked the Las Vegas Culinary Union for using member dues to make UFC 205 the biggest night in company history. read news >>

Danny Garcia Is Ready to Make Some Noise as a Welterweight | FIGHTLAND

  • 17 days ago
  • 12 views

Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports For nearly 20 years, Angel Garcia has taught his son, Danny, the finer points of boxing inside and outside of the ring. The partnership has worked out abou read news >>

Mark Hunt Retains Attorney to Make Changes to the UFC's Anti-Doping Policies | FIGHTLAND

  • 17 days ago
  • 5 views

Photo by Matt Roberts-USA TODAY Sports UFC heavyweight Mark Hunt is very quickly transcending his position as a mere fighter and transforming into something of an MMA folk legend: a modern-day Robin read news >>

Danny Garcia Is Ready to Make Some Noise as a Welterweight | FIGHTLAND

  • 17 days ago
  • 0 views

Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports For nearly 20 years, Angel Garcia has taught his son, Danny, the finer points of boxing inside and outside of the ring. The partnership has worked out abou read news >>