The winner of Gray Maynard’s UFC 160 clash with T.J. Grant will receive the next crack at lightweight champion Benson Henderson.
UFC President Dana White announced the news Saturday night at UFC on Fox 7, shortly after Henderson retained his title in a split-decision victory over Gilbert Melendez at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.
Henderson and Melendez battled for 25 minutes in the evening’s main event, with both men scoring meaningful shots throughout the contest. Though the judges were divided in their verdict, it was “Smooth” who saw his hand raised and his winning streak extended to seven fights.
“I’m a fighter, not a judge. It’s not my job to judge the fights. I definitely thought I lost the first round, but I felt I won the next four,” Henderson told Fox Sports following his third successful title defense. “I haven’t been able to watch the fight yet, so give me a little leeway, but I did personally feel that I won the next four.”
Should Maynard (Pictured, file photo) best Grant on May 25 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, he would be granted his third shot at the UFC lightweight title. “The Bully” challenged for the belt twice in 2011, drawing with Frankie Edgar in Sherdog’s “Fight of the Year” before suffering a come-from-behind knockout to “The Answer” in their rematch later that year. Maynard last competed in June, taking a split decision from a hyperactive Clay Guida at UFC on FX 4.
Grant, meanwhile, has not lost since cutting to lightweight in 2011, posting consecutive victories over Shane Roller, Carlo Prater and Evan Dunham. Most recently, the Canadian earned arguably the biggest win of his career at UFC on Fox 6, where he brutally knocked out Matt Wiman in the first round of their Jan. 26 confrontation.