Saturday, April 20, 2013
Winner will meet Ben Henderson
By Brett Okamoto ESPN.com
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The winner of a lightweight fight between Gray Maynard and T.J. Grant at UFC 160 in Las Vegas will produce the division's next No. 1 contender.
UFC president Dana White confirmed at a UFC on Fox news conference at HP Pavilion on Saturday that the winner will meet defending champion Ben Henderson, who made his third title defense with a split decision over Gilbert Melendez on Saturday night.
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"Gray Maynard is ranked No. 3, T.J. Grant is ranked No. 7," White said. "Those guys are fighting at UFC 160 on May 25. The winner of that will fight Ben Henderson next."
There had been speculation Henderson might fight Melendez again, given the close nature of Saturday's fight. Two California judges scored the bout 48-47 in favor of Henderson. The third had it 48-47 in favor of Melendez.
White admitted at the post-fight news conference that he scored the bout for Henderson.
Henderson (19-2) said he expects to face Melendez (21-3) again at some point. Melendez held the Strikeforce lightweight title from 2009-13.
"At 155 (pounds), the division is so stacked and so deep," Henderson said. "The top five guys are all very close. Do I imagine I'll be seeing Gil again? Yeah, I will be seeing Gil again."
Maynard (11-1) has twice competed for the UFC lightweight title. He fought Frankie Edgar to a draw in January 2011, then lost an immediate rematch in October. Grant (20-5) enters the May 25 bout with a four-fight win streak.