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LAS VEGAS -- UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar will make his next title defense against the man who nearly took it from him Saturday night at UFC 125 -- Gray Maynard.
"After what just happened, Maynard deserves it," UFC president Dana White said. "I told you guys this earlier and want you to be first to know. It's only fair."
It was generally believed that WEC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis would get the next shot at the UFC title. But after Edgar and Maynard fought to a draw before 12,688 fans at MGM Grand Garden Arena, White found it difficult to deny the challenger another shot.
Maynard had never lost a fight as professional entering the bout Saturday night. He even had a decision over Edgar.
The two fought in 2008 and Maynard won that fight by unanimous decision. It is the only loss Edgar (13-1-1) has tasted as a professional fighter.
When informed that White had not guaranteed he would be Edgar's next opponent, Pettis took it in stride.
"I want to fight for the title, but will do whatever UFC wants me to do," Pettis said. "When my turn comes, I will be ready."
Maynard (11-0-1, 1 no contest) did not hesitate when asked if he wanted an immediate rematch with the champion.
"Yes! I want a rematch," Maynard said. "I want that belt. I thought I had it tonight. I thought it was mine. I will put everything I got out there on the line.
"I want to fight [Edgar] right now. We can go five more rounds right now. I want that title belt. I feel I won this fight, and it got away from me. I won't let it get away the next time."
During the Edgar-Maynard post-fight news conference, UFC Vice President of Operations and Production Craig Borsari told media members that Pettis would face Edgar next.
But White told ESPN minutes earlier he had not yet decided whether Maynard or Pettis would be Edgar's next opponent.
"I don't know. We have to look at this thing now," White said. "When this fight was a draw, and the fight was so dramatic -- do you go back and have a third fight with these two? I don't know yet.
"I wouldn't say definitely tonight that Pettis gets the [title] fight after the fight I watched this evening."
After further consideration, White made up his mind. Pettis will have to wait a little longer; Maynard gets Edgar next.Franklin McNeil covers mixed martial arts and boxing for ESPN.com. He also appears regularly on 'MMA Live,' which airs on ESPN2. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Franklin_McNeil