What we learned from “Henderson vs. Edgar II”
By James Walker
Saturday’s UFC 150 provided another very close title fight at lightweight. Here are five things we learned from the August 11 event:
No. 1: It’s time for Edger to move down to 145
It would be a while before Edger gets in the title picture again at lightweight, especially if Henderson remains champion. Edger is still one of the best fighters in the world, and his best chance for a quick title shot is to move down to 145.
There is one immediate superfight waiting for Edger at 145. That is against champion Jose Aldo. MMA fans would be salivating over that matchup, potentially in early 2013.
Edger has made a career out of beating guys naturally bigger than him. But after back-to-back losses to Henderson, it’s officially time for Edger to fight guys naturally his size.
No. 2: Henderson has Diaz up next
You got the sense Henderson would’ve rather fight fresh meat in his first title defense. But Henderson was ordered to give a rematch to Edger, and now that Henderson passed that test, he can concentrate on other contenders at lightweight.
Lightweight is arguably the deepest divisions in the UFC. So Henderson will have no shortage of new challengers. Up next is No. 1 contender Nate Diaz. This is a great matchup of aggressive fighters that is sure to bring fireworks.
No. 3: Cerrone a true contender
Speaking of lightweight contenders, Donald Cerrone continues to climb up the charts with an impressive first-round knockout of Melvin Guillard. Both fighters put on one of the most exciting rounds of the year in MMA. Guillard rocked Cerrone but was eventually knocked out via a high kick and right punch combination from Cerrone.
Cerrone has won eight of his last nine and is probably one fight away from a lightweight title shot. Cerrone wants Anthony Pettis next, and that matchup makes a lot of sense as a No. 1 contender’s bout.
No. 4: Guillard enters “gatekeeper” status
Melvin Guillard has always been an enigma. Just when you think Guillard is capable of climbing into the title picture, he suffers another quick setback to fall out.
Guillard is an explosive, talented and entertaining fighter who never developed the consistency to win a title. His loss to Cerrone is the third loss in four fights. Any thoughts of Guillard putting together a run to the top of the UFC has all but diminished.
This now downgrades Guillard to “gatekeeper” status. It’s a position no fighter wants to be in. But Guillard is dangerous enough to test any fighter, but not consistent enough to be champion.
No. 5: Shields better at middleweight
Jake Shields didn’t have to worry about a tough weight cut to welterweight — and you noticed the difference. Shields returned to the middleweight division and showcased some of the thing that made him a former champion in Strikeforce. Shields controlled Ed Herman with several takedowns and submission attempts for a decision victory.
Shields has won two fights in a row in the UFC after back-to-back losses to Georges St. Pierre and Jake Ellenberger. He should get a bigger fight at middleweight as he tries to get back to the form during his impressive 14-fight win streak from 2005-2010.