Dana White: “First-Round Annihilation” Defuses Anthony Pettis vs. Benson Henderson Trilogy Talk

September 1, 2013
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30_HendersonPettisWECAs is often the case with great fight series in the sport of mixed martial arts, trilogies are a popular way of settling disputes between two fighters with unfinished business.

Trilogies like Chuck Liddell vs. Randy Couture and Gray Maynard vs. Frankie Edgar have become a part of the UFC’s fighting fabric.  They have defined eras and provided fans with some of the sport’s most memorable scraps and rivalries.

Following newly minted UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis’ first-round armbar submission victory over Benson Henderson at UFC 164 in his hometown of Milwaukee on Saturday night, talk immediately shifted to who is next?

For many, seeing as their first fight at WEC 53 was so hotly contested, and Henderson’s reign as UFC champ was so authoritative, the prospect of a third fight between the two 155-pounders somewhere down the road seemed like a logical possibility.

According to UFC president Dana White, however, making a trilogy between Pettis and Henderson isn’t logical at all.

When a fighter goes 0-2 against same opponent, it’s somewhat of an unwritten policy that there won’t be a third fight anytime soon.

Such is the case with Henderson in regards to Pettis, who has now defeated him twice.

“Definitely. That is definitely the case,” said White in a scrum with reporters following UFC 164. “We had the fight with Ben and Frankie (Edgar) where some people thought (it was a questionable decision); there’s no (expletive) denying who won this fight. It was a first-round annihilation. Kind of like the Vitor/Anderson thing.”

Despite the nature of their first encounter, exciting as it was, Pettis still won that fight via unanimous decision. And let’s not forget that whole “Showtime Kick” thing.

After taking Henderson’s belt, Pettis let it be known that he would like to challenge featherweight champion Jose Aldo, as they have “unfinished business.”  But usually a fighter has to defend his belt a few times before he goes looking to change divisions and throws around talk of a “superfight.”

However, Pettis and Aldo were scheduled to meet at UFC 163 just last month, in a bout that Pettis was forced to withdraw from due to injury. The history and bad blood is certainly still there, especially for Pettis.

Whatever lies next on the horizon for Pettis and Henderson, we know one thing: with numerous Fight Night bonuses to their credit, there is no shortage of action when they step inside the Octagon.

It just won’t be against each other… at least not for a while.

(Follow @RyanMcKinnell on Twitter)

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  • Darin

    Exactly what “history and bad blood” do Pettis and Aldo have?

    • Gary Fredericks

      There has been a lot of back and for on twitter and facespace.

      • Scott Tenorman

        Yup, they went back and forth there for a minute while the fight was still on. And if I remember correctly, they continued a little bit after the bout was cancelled.

  • OverratedHippie


    • Chicago

      How long is he out for?

  • Gary Fredericks

    Good for Pettis! Can’t deny respect for Henderson for what he has accomplished, but I am glad to see Pettis get this.

    • Cowsill

      henderson accomplished what exacly? contaversial split decision vs edgar who beat him everywhere and by stats, who he outweighs by a weight class? and what else? didn’t want to fight petis again, because he couldn’t win by split-decision but would get smashed again.

      • Stero

        He won 4 title fights in a row. Even if they were controversial the fact that they were controversial means they were close, which is something to be proud of in of itself. Even if you don’t agree with the judges decision, don’t take it out on the man. He fought often and hard, he did everything asked of him and was the champ for two years…don’t be so petty.

      • Lucas Freire

        So now someone should be ashamed to have won two close fights against Edgar?
        For a LONG time this smaller Edgar was the best LW fighter of the world, and top5 p4p

      • Gary Fredericks

        He won the belt and defended it multiple times. To me, that is an acomplishment. As far as the Edgar fights, those were some of the most exciting fights I have seen in recent memory.

  • Mike

    Ryan, how come every story you write has grammatical errors: “Such is the case the Henderson in…”

    You’re supposed to be a journalist.

    • Corey Hutton

      This is the internet, there are no Journalists.

    • Scott Tenorman

      Mike, I don’t know Ryan, so I certainly don’t want to speak for him but that seems like a typo to me. They exist everyday in every publication across the globe. From USA Today to MMAweekly and all stops in between. Also I see Ryan’s bi-line a ton all over the page on fight nights; maybe he’s just busy. As a writer myself, I’m fully sympathetic to a heavy workload.

    • Yell0wMonkey

      Shouldn’t there be a question mark in there, you know, grammatically?

      • Denny Swain

        Looks like hes making a statement, not asking a question, grammatically.

  • Franky4fingers

    Annihilation? Not quite.

  • Mike McKinney

    It’s quite impressive to have a guy with pettis’ kind of finishing ability at that small of a weight class. Aldo is another guy like that, but they’re pretty rare. We really haven’t seen it since BJ, and didn’t really have it before.
    If pettis were somehow able to keep that belt for a long time he might be the next “Anderson Silva.”
    He certainly has the flash and style. Only time will tell if he can get a long winning streak going.

  • Mr Pete

    Diaz, Thompson, Frankie, Penn, Khabib and don’t sleep on Barboza.

  • mike

    I don’t know what kind of contract Henderson has, but I don’t see him coming back from this. He has often said that being a fighter is only temporary, and as he is no longer at the top, and isn’t getting there anytime soon, I think he’ll retire.

  • deepgrim

    i was looking forward to seeing pettis aldo all year till the injury. now i hope it happens now tho, but ya feel he has to the defend the title unless aldo moves up for the fight

  • Denny Swain

    Henderson needs to go to lhw, his natural weight class
    He knows he cant hang up there thats why he fasted to get to lw.frankie beat him twice, but pettis finished him!!!

    • Kbroesq

      Wow, this is probably the dumbest thing I’ve ever read. You know how short Henderson is and you think he should go to LHW? The guy doesn’t weigh even close to 205 before he cuts weight.

      Why would Henderson go to another division when he clearly can hang with the lightweights and never gets tired. As a champion, he only competed in 5 round fights, and was clearly never tired. Even Edgar was gassed when Henderson wasn’t. Henderson also almost defended the lightweight belt more than any other champion at that division. Seriously, even if you think he lost the fights with Frankie, you think a guy who can hang with Edgar for five rounds twice, beat Diaz and Melendez and annihilate Miller, Guida and Bocek can’t hang in the LWD just because he lost to Pettis!?

      Again, dumbest comment ever. Don’t bag on the guy just because you don’t happen to like him.

  • Kbroesq

    I totally understand the logic, but I was hoping for a rematch. Henderson almost defended the lightweight belt more than any other champion and he really earned his title shot. I don’t agree with White that a first round arm bar is an “annihilation,” but I do agree that the 0/2 record and the fact that the fight was not close argues against a rematch. Also, the fact that the LWD is stacked goes against a rematch.

    Anyway, I think Bendo should get a title shot if he can convincingly beat his next opponent. I say give him the loser of Healy/Nuragumedov (no clue how to spell that).