Benson Henderson and 6 Fighters Ready for Their Title Rematch
When a fighter loses a title fight, he usually has to go back to the drawing board, see what went wrong and figure out how to come back stronger.
Some are able to do that very well and get back in title contention quickly. Others, like Frank Mir, don't do so well after a title loss.
With more divisions and fighters now than ever before, there are far more title fights and far more title contenders. Some contenders are ready for a second or even third shot at the belt. Let's see who they are.
Vitor Belfort was the light heavyweight champion back in 2004. He fought for the middleweight title in 2011 and the light heavyweight title in 2012.
With everything that Belfort has done in his last five non-title fights, he could probably pick whichever division he wanted a title shot in. He's knocked out Yoshihiro Akiyama, Michael Bisping and Luke Rockhold at middleweight. He knocked out Dan Henderson at light heavyweight and submitted Anthony Johnson at a catchweight.
Belfort could possibly be next in line for a title shot in the middleweight division, but he could also fight for the light heavyweight title should an injury to Alexander Gustafsson occur.
Benson Henderson was the lightweight champion from February 2012 until August 2013. He defended the title three times before meeting Anthony Pettis for the second time in his career.
Pettis submitted Henderson with an armbar in the first round, and Henderson lost his title.
Since then, Henderson has won two fights and put himself back in title contention. His first fight after losing the title was a split-decision victory over Josh Thomson (48-47, 47-48, 49-46).
He followed that up with a fourth-round submission victory over Rustam Khabilov. Henderson rocked and dropped Khabilov then slapped on a rear-naked choke. He would earn a Performance of the Night award for his efforts.
Henderson is ranked No. 1 in the division, and only Anthony Pettis is ahead of him.
Alexander Gustafsson faced off against Jon Jones in September 2013 with Jones' light heavyweight title on the line. In the toughest fight of Jones' career, Gustafsson lost a unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46).
Many were hoping that Gustafsson would have an immediate rematch with Jones, but that wasn't to be. Instead, Gustafsson faced Jimi Manuwa in March 2014.
Gustafsson scored a second-round TKO and also earned Performance and Fight of the Night awards. With that win, he earned a second title shot and will face Jones again in September.
Robbie Lawler faced Johny Hendricks for the vacant welterweight title at UFC 171 in March 2014. In a fight that would win Fight of the Night, Hendricks scored the unanimous-decision victory, winning 48-47 on all scorecards.
This was another fight where people were hoping for an immediate rematch, but that was again not to be.
Lawler moved on and faced Jake Ellenberger just two months later at UFC 173 in May 2014. Lawler was winning the fight before finishing Ellenberger in the third round. He scored a TKO with just under two minutes left in the fight.
Lawler will face Matt Brown at UFC on Fox 12. The winner will get a title shot against Johny Hendricks.
Gilbert Melendez is the former Strikeforce lightweight champion and a one-time UFC lightweight title challenger. In Melendez's first UFC fight, he faced Benson Henderson for the title and lost a split decision (47-48, 48-47, 48-47).
Melendez then faced Diego Sanchez and scored a unanimous decision victory and the Fight of the Night award. The fight would also win Fight of the Year for 2013.
Melendez almost left the UFC to go to Bellator, but he instead remained with the UFC and had the opportunity to coach on The Ultimate Fighter against Anthony Pettis.
Melendez will coach the 20th season of the show and then face Pettis for the title at the UFC's year-end event.
Chad Mendes has an overall UFC record of 7-1. He went 2-0 and earned a title shot against Jose Aldo. Aldo would score a first-round knockout and send Mendes back down the ladder.
Since that loss, Mendes has won five fights in a row, including the first four by knockout. If that's not impressive enough, in August 2013, Mendes became the only person to ever finish Clay Guida with strikes, for which he won Knockout of the Night.
Mendes is now set for his rematch with Aldo, which will take place at UFC 176 on August 2. It's going to be a great fight.
Whether you love him or hate him, John Dodson is a serious contender at flyweight.
Dodson had his title shot against Demetrious Johnson in January 2013. Johnson would take the unanimous-decision victory (49-46, 48-47, 48-47), but Dodson was one of his toughest fights.
Dodson was out for 10 months following that loss, but in his return fight against Darrell Montague, he scored a knockout in just over four minutes. He would win Knockout of the Night for his efforts.
His next fight after that came eight months later against John Moraga. Dodson and Moraga had previously faced off in December 2010. Dodson would win that fight by unanimous decision, and he then joined the 14th season of The Ultimate Fighter.
Dodson won the rematch with a TKO due to a doctor's stoppage between the second and third rounds.
Dodson is ranked No. 1 in the flyweight division and is likely next in line for a title shot.