Deja Vu: Donald Cerrone Vs. Benson Henderson

By Raymond Ferrer / @RC_FurAir

It looks like your favorite perennial contender Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (25-6-0) is getting what he wants by replacing Eddie Alvarez and has signed to fight Benson “Smooth” Henderson (21-4-0), only two days removed from his unanimous decision victory over Myles Jury this past weekend. The two will meet at UFC Fight Night in Boston.

This will be the third time Henderson and Cerrone will touch gloves, since fighting twice under the now defunct WEC banner.

The first fight was a gritty war of attrition, which saw both fighters in an exciting lightweight title fight ending in a unanimous decision loss for Cerrone, but the fight surely answered the question of that time, “Could the WEC lightweights hang with their UFC counterparts?” The answer being a resounding “YES!” and later further punctuated by Anthony Pettis’ “Showtime Kick.”

However, in Henderson vs. Cerrone 2, Cerrone was on the receiving end of a guillotine choke just under two minutes into the first round. This would be Henderson’s last finish until choking out Rustam Khabilov four years later. Henderson lost the WEC strap to Anthony Pettis via decision and is forever remembered as the guy who ate the aforementioned “Showtime Kick.”

Both Cerrone and Henderson have seen success in the Octagon, the latter even holding and defending the UFC lightweight strap four times. Cerrone is currently riding a six-fight win streak, the longest of his UFC career. Meanwhile, Henderson has been more inconsistent as of late, going 2 for 2 in his last four fights.

Other than having fought each other twice, both contributed to the rise of Anthony Pettis, providing the lightweight champ with additional footage for his already illustrious highlight reel.

The casual fan might think this fight holds little to no weight in deciding who deserves the next title shot. However, with number two contender Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov nursing an injury and Rafael Dos Anjos getting his shot in March, having the number three guy in “Cowboy” and number five guy in “Smooth” touch gloves for a third time ain’t such a bad idea.

With both fighters sitting in the top 5, a few questions could be answered in Boston. Will the Henderson of old return with a finish, or has he fallen from the MMA gods’ good graces? Can Cerrone live up to his potential, or will he forever be the pound-for-pound best gatekeeper? Will we get to see more F@#! you kicks? And most importantly, will the winner receive the next title shot, or will “The Eagle” heal up, swoop in and give “Showtime” a new challenge?

Forget McGregor and Siver, diehards would be wise to tune in for a real fight in Cerrone vs. Henderson 3.

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