Benson Henderson won’t feel he’s earned redemption until he avenges his defeat to Anthony Pettis.
But the former lightweight champion showed he deserved the chance to do so Saturday night, grinding out a split-decision win against Josh Thomson at UFC on Fox 10 in Chicago.
The No. 1 contender in the lightweight division fought through a difficult first round in which Thomson, a former Strikeforce lightweight champion, mostly managed to subdue the 30-year-old Henderson’s attacks.
For much of the round, it was Thomson who was on the attack after he gained Henderson’s back and repeatedly went for a triangle choke. Henderson survived, though, and took control of the round in the final two minutes.
The second round was more of the same, with Thomson again finding himself in better positions on the ground, although never coming particularly close to submitting Henderson.