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Benson Henderson and Anthony Pettis Have Taken Very Different Paths to UFC 164

UFC 164 Main Event a Rematch of Amazing WEC Title Fight

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | When the 2010 WEC championship bout between Benson Henderson and Anthony Pettis was over, a few things were clear:

1. The fight was too close to call; 2. Both were destined to compete at a high level in the UFC; 3. That kick was insane!; 4. Pettis and Henderson would rematch someday.

Pettis won the first fight by a close unanimous decision and was expected to be the first of them to challenge for a UFC title. However, he ran into the relentless wrestling game of Clay Guida and came up short. His next fight, a split-decision win against Jeremy Stephens, didn't get him any closer to the title.

Meanwhile, Henderson was storming through the UFC lightweight division. His first win came against the always-game Mark Bocek. In his next two fights, he stepped up in competition and controlled Jim Miller and Guida in unanimous-decision victories. At UFC 144 in Feb. 2012, Henderson won the UFC lightweight title in a close decision against Frankie Edgar.

Since his title win, "Smooth" has sandwiched split-decision victories over Edgar and Gilbert Melendez with a dominant performance over Nate Diaz. The wins are still coming, but not as easily and not in as impressive of fashion.

While Henderson was fighting close fights against top competition, Pettis was knocking out Joe Lauzon and Donald Cerrone. Henderson is now the veteran champion, and "Showtime" finally appears ready to challenge for Henderson's title.

When these two fought for the WEC title more than two years ago, it was destiny they would one day fight again. There careers have taken different paths to get to UFC 164, and now they collide Saturday night.

Joe Napoli has been following MMA since the Dark Ages. Twitter: @JoeJNapoli LinkedIn: Profile.

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