Henderson not automatic for title shot


Dan Henderson’s brutal knockout victory over Michael Bisping during last night’s televised portion of the historic UFC 100 card from Las Vegas did not guarantee him a title shot. It’s true that Michael Bisping, had he won, would have gone on to face Anderson Silva for the middleweight belt on November 14th in England, possibly in a small soccer stadium.

Henderson, however, has already had his chance, and despite Hendo’s claims that he’s evolved significantly as a fighter since his last title shot, the Zuffa brass isn’t exactly thrilled about putting him back in the cage with Silva.

“Could be,” UFC President Dana White said when asked if Henderson was next in line for Anderson Silva. “We’ve got to figure out dates, times. Silva is fighting in August, and then we’ll figure it out from there. We’ll see what happens.”

That’s carny for “no, Dan’s not getting a title shot any time soon.”

If Demian Maia beats Nate Marquardt in August, I strongly suspect you’ll see him get the next title shot at Silva. Zuffa is intent on keeping fresh matchups and rotating in new challengers before giving out rematches, and while Maia isn’t exactly what I’d deem a pay per view draw, he’s certainly a thrilling ground wizard and a fresh matchup for Silva.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Silva defending the title against Georges St. Pierre in December, either. White claimed that St. Pierre needs to clean out his division before moving up and that we wouldn’t see the fight until 2010, but last night’s performance against Thiago Alves may have changed his mind. Nobody needs to see Mike Swick in there with GSP, as Joe Rogan hinted at during the broadcast of UFC 100. He’s standing far above the rest of the welterweight division at this point and there’s no need to keep shuffling guys in there who have zero chances of winning. St. Pierre has increasingly stated leading up to this fight that he’s fighting for challenges and for his legacy, which means taking on the biggest and most challenging fights possible. Anderson Silva would be GSP’s biggest and most challenging opponent to date, perhaps of his entire career.

And besides, the Ultimate 2009 card will be taking place on January 2, 2010, which means White would have been telling the truth about the matchup not happening this year.