Call it a case of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.”
Following his UFC 144 Lightweight Championship loss to Benson Henderson, Frankie Edgar complained about the decision. He felt he did enough to win, and he was shocked the judges disagreed.
But whether or not UFC brass agreed, his cries for a rematch resonated due to his history of being a “good soldier” when it comes to title rematches in the UFC. After defeating BJ Penn to win the title, Edgar accommodated the rare request to give Penn an immediate rematch. After drawing Gray Maynard in a defense of his title, Edgar accommodated the request to give Maynard another shot.
As such, UFC decided he deserved the opportunity to get another crack at Henderson. That crack came at UFC 150.
Though the result was basically the same–Henderson won by decision–this one legitimately debatable. Whereas the consensus among media types was that Edgar was grasping at straws in disputing the UFC 144 outcome, when it comes to UFC 150, immediate fan and analyst feedback contended that Edgar had won the fight and deserved the decision.
Indicative of the situation’s controversy is the fact that Edgar’s sole victory on the judges’ scorecards was 49-46, meaning one judge saw four rounds for the challenger. The other two judges gave Henderson a closer 48-47 win, but since two beats one, Henderson kept his belt.
Given the dispute over whether Edgar really deserved a title rematch, and the fact that Nate Diaz is waiting in the wings for a title shot, it seems unlikely that Edgar will get a third try at Henderson. But had this fight happened in a vacuum, and had Edgar not earned a shot after “crying wolf” fans likely would have rioted in support of a rematch between the UFC Lightweight Champion and the durable challenger.
As far as the fight goes, the general consensus is that the larger, stronger Henderson used his varied, powerful strikes to win the first round. By controlling the action on the ground and locking in submissions, Edgar convincingly won rounds two and four.
That made rounds three and five the deciding frames, and they were certainly close enough to justify a Henderson win. But in those cases, particularly in the final round, it seemed that Edgar’s punches, even if less frequent, connected with more power and crispness, and fans and critics therefore had enough fuel to claim Edgar won the fight.
After the decision was read, a dejected Edgar threw his hat and struggled in an interview with Joe Rogan, doing little to put on a smiley face or look to the bright opportunities ahead. He was visibly frustrated with the decision, but he will unfortunately have to win at least one more fight–and possibly two more, given the stacked nature of the division–before getting another crack at the Lightweight Championship.
Result: Ben Henderson b. Frankie Edgar via split decision (46-49, 48-47, 48-47)