The UFC’s light-heavyweight title picture has become quite a twisted web over the last few weeks. When Dan Henderson blew out his knee before his scheduled title challenge against Jon Jones at UFC 151 (R.I.P.), the call went out to Lyoto Machida to meet Jones at UFC 152, since the Dragon was officially next in line. But then Machida declined the offer, and yada yada yada, we now have an aging middleweight looking to shock the world next weekend.
So does that mean that Henderson keeps his spot at the front of the 205-pound contender-line when he heals up? Not exactly. According to a new report from Dave Meltzer on MMAFighting, UFC president Dana White now intends to have Hendo and Machida fight each other to determine the true #1 LHW contender. The planned booking seems to be motivated at least partly by anger. As Meltzer writes:
[Regarding] Machida turning down the originally announced shot at champion Jon Jones at UFC 152 on Sept. 22 in Toronto, White mentioned that he felt Machida made the wrong decision…White at the time was upset with both Henderson and Machida. He was mad at Henderson for keeping the knee injury secret for two weeks, which is against protocol as fighters are supposed to inform UFC of all injuries immediately, and had he not done so, White felt they may have been able to save [UFC 151].
Though the match hasn’t been tied to a specific event, Henderson has stated that he’d be healed up and ready to fight as early as December — which means that after he fights Vitor Belfort, Jon Jones could be on the shelf until well into Spring 2013, waiting for his next fight. That’ll teach him.
Here’s my concern: Machida could end up beating Hendo, and then we’ll have to sit through the Jones vs. Machida rematch that nobody asked for, and miss out on the Jones vs. Henderson fight that we were genuinely psyched about. What do you think? Is booking Henderson vs. Machida the right way to go? And who takes it?