Final Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez took UFC titleholder Benson Henderson to the wire at UFC on Fox 7 on Saturday night in San Jose, Calif., losing to him via a split decision. But for people arguing that Melendez should have gotten the nod and at least deserves an immediate rematch, that’s not going to happen.
UFC president Dana White, closing out the UFC on Fox 7 post-fight press conference, quelled any speculation about a rematch by announcing that another pair of contenders would determine who gets the next shot at Henderson.
“Gray Maynard is ranked number three (in the official UFC Rankings). TJ Grant is ranked number seven,” said White. “Those guys are gonna fight at UFC 160 on May 25. The winner of that fight is gonna fight Ben Henderson next.”
Maynard (11-1-1) has twice before fought for the UFC lightweight championship, both times against the same man, Frankie Edgar. The first time they fought to a draw, setting up an immediate rematch. Edgar knocked Maynard out in the second fight, sending him back to the drawing board.
He bounced back with a win over Clay Guida in the UFC on FX 4 headliner last summer.
Now he’s just one fight removed from returning to the title picture.
Grant (20-5) never fought for a UFC belt, but has been tearing through the lightweight division since making his 155-pound debut at the final UFC on Versus event in October of 2011.
He has reeled off consecutive victories over Shane Roller, Carlo Prater, Evan Dunham, and Matt Wiman.
White gave no details on when he expects the winner of that fight to challenge Benson Henderson, only that the winner would be the number one contender.
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