Live by the sword, die by the sword.

That’s a lesson former UFC lightweight champion Benson “Smooth” Henderson was forced to learn the hard way at UFC Fight Night 59. The recipient of more than one “gift” decision earlier in his career, Henderson, now in the first two-fight slump of his career, learned how much it stings to see one go the wrong way in his fight against Donald Cerrone, who took the bout on just fifteen days notice.

Now, lets make one thing clear: this was in no way a robbery, not by a long shot. Cathal Pendred’s fight against Sean Spencer was a robbery, and Spencer might want to consider pressing charges, but given his luck with judges so far, what would be the point? Cerrone vs. Henderson, however, was simply a close fight. Yes, many had it leaning towards Henderson at the end, but neither man blew the other away, and there was no blatantly outrageous flub in scoring on the part of the judges: all three scored the bout 29-28 for Cowboy.

While Henderson seemed do be doing more, an argument could be made that his kicks and jabs to the legs of Cerrone weren’t particularly effective, and while judges don’t score damage, there’s something to be said for octagon control and aggression as well (Cerrone did have just a little more control time in the fight). Not to mention takedowns, even when not the most effective.

In short, this wasn’t Pendred-Spencer or Sanchez-Pearson, it wasn’t even Schaub-Arlovski. It was just Benson Henderson being on the wrong end of a close call, something that has gone his way more often than not. And it has to grate at him. He took the high road, because that’s the kind of guy he is, and because Henderson and Cerrone are pals when not squaring off.

The big question that now remains is, what comes next? Having never suffered back-to-back losses before in his career, could now be the time for Henderson to go up in weight to welterweight?

It might be tempting. It might also be the wrong move.

Life isn’t always smooth sailing. You face adversity, you move forward. Benson Henderson is an extremely gifted fighter, and he’s been very successful both in and out of the UFC. While 0-2 might be scary for some fighters, it matters not for Bendo, as he’s not at risk of being cut any time soon and is still in his prime. There are still plenty of good fights for him at 155lbs; 170lbs, meanwhile, has a bit of a traffic jam with Robbie Lawler taking some time off, and a couple of key fights already planned to determine the next title shot.

Henderson is no closer to a shot in one division than he is in the next, but he shouldn’t necessarily make his exit just yet. Timing is everything, and the timing feels off. The momentum isn’t there, nor is the opportunity. It’s not just that either. Henderson has been a huge part of the division over the past few years, and a number of fights still intrigue, including originally scheduled opponent Eddie Alvarez, Edson Barboza, maybe even Bobby Green — and possibly, down the road, a fourth fight with Cerrone. Most fans would flock to it.

For now, Henderson has stepped in to replace the aforementioned Green against Jorge Masvidal at UFC Fight Night 63, taking a page out of Cerrone’s book. It’s a smart move, quickly putting the loss to Cowboy behind him.

Just don’t leave that one to the judges.

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.