It now appears that the lightweight clash at UFC 160 on May 25 between Gray Maynard and T.J. Grant will decide the next challenger to Benson Henderson’s lightweight strap. After last night’s UFC on FOX 7 fights, UFC President Dana White announced the news that the Maynard-Grant bout will now decide the number one contender to the lightweight title.
The title was defended last night by champion Ben Henderson in a closely contested split-decision victory over Gilbert Melendez. After 25 minutes of war, in which momentum shifted in each man’s favor, it was decided by two of three cageside judges that Henderson did enough to retain his title. The win, a great display of mixed strikes and slick scrambling, was a record-tying third consecutive title defense, first set by former lightweight king B.J. Penn.
A win at UFC 160 would give Maynard a third opportunity at lightweight gold. He challenged for the title twice in 2011 with Frankie Edgar, drawing in the first fight and losing the second by vicious knock after battering then champion Edgar in the early rounds. The knockout loss is the only blemish on his record. Maynard last fought at UFC on FX 4 in June, earning a split-decision victory over Clay Guida.
For T.J. Grant, a win would give him his first shot at a championship. A winner of his last four fights since dropping to lightweight, the Canadian last saw action in a dismantling of Matt Wiman in the first round at UFC on FOX 6 on January 26. Grant has yet to taste defeat since dropping down from welterweight.
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