Henderson-Edgar rematch headlines UFC 150 in Denver

The Canadian Press

8/10/2012 3:01:20 AM

DENVER -- Saturday's rematch between UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson and the man he beat for the belt, Frankie (The Answer) Edgar, wasn't supposed to happen.

Following Henderson's UFC 144 win over Edgar in February, UFC President Dana White suggested former World Extreme Cagefighting champion Anthony Pettis would get his shot at UFC gold.

But Edgar, who had previously granted title-shot rematches to B.J. Penn and Gray Maynard, was relentless in his pursuit of a return bout and eventually forced White's hand.

The two now meet in the main event of UFC 150 on Saturday night at the Pepsi Center.

"Rematches are -- I mean there's two sides to it," Edgar said. "You get to see what your opponent is all about, and you get to see what you're about. I think sometimes in rematches it matters who makes the best adjustments and who is the best. But at this level, fights are so close and sometimes it's who shows up that night and who performs better."

Thus far in his career, Edgar (14-2-1 MMA, 9-2-1 UFC) has proven himself a better fighter in return bouts -- soundly defeating both Penn and Maynard in rematches. In February, Henderson was awarded their first fight with convincing scores of 49-46, 48-47 and 49-46. Still, Edgar believes he should have retained his belt that night, and he's determined to walk away a champion on Saturday night.

"He's not defending the belt," Edgar said. "That belt is mine, and I'm taking it back.

"I feel like I can do better than I did last time. All respect to him, he's a very good fighter, but I still feel I am No. 1 in the 155-pound weight class, and I will prove that."

Despite Denver's high altitude, which has had visible effects on a handful of fighters on previous fight cards in the Mile-High City, Henderson and Edgar are well-equipped to maintain a fast pace for a full five rounds.

The key ultimately boils down to the larger Henderson's ability to absorb Edgar's blows while utilizing his strength to control the action in clinches and on the floor. Meanwhile, Edgar will likely look to capitalize on speed and movement to frustrate his opponent while landing rapid-fire combinations at every opportunity.

Henderson (16-2 MMA, 4-0 UFC) has already been told Nate Diaz is in waiting, and a trilogy fight is not in the cards should he fall short on Saturday night. Meanwhile, Edgar has been told repeatedly by White he should consider dropping to 145 pounds. So while the UFC 150 main event will determine the promotion's lightweight champion, it will also have much to say about the future of two of the sport's most exciting fighters.

"I think it's going to be another great fight, another great performance from both of us," Edgar said. "The biggest thing, I think, is that we both always bring it. We both always have good entertaining fights. We don't need to talk smack and hate each other. We don't need to dislike the guy or be hateful towards each other, but we always put on a great show, and it's going to stay the same in Denver."

On paper, the night's co-main event between Colorado native Donald Cerrone and Melvin Guillard looks to be a crowd-pleaser and a leading candidate to score the evening's Fight of the Night.

Former teammates and current friends, Cerrone and Guillard have each promised to deliver an action-packed contest from start to finish, and their past performances would suggest that's not an empty pledge.

Guillard fought just one month ago, but the potential to compete in such a high-level affair against Cerrone was too enticing to turn down.

"Donald has always been a great friend of mine," Guillard said. "The first thing I thought was, 'The least I can do is show up for the guy. That way he can fight in his hometown.' But by no means did I come to Colorado to lose."

Meanwhile, Cerrone, who is 8-1 in his past nine fights, was especially appreciative of his opponent's willingness to clash.

"I am honoured Melvin stepped up," Cerrone said. "He could have said, 'We trained together. We've sparred. He knows my style. It's in his hometown.' But he stepped up right away. He's a warrior. He's a man."