March Madness is still a couple of months away, but UFC president Dana White has already formulated an unofficial four-man tournament for the light heavyweight division.
On one end of the brackets, Dan Henderson (Pictured) controls his own destiny. According to White, all Hendo needs to do is beat former champ Lyoto Machida at UFC 157 and he punches his ticket to the big dance.
“If Henderson wins, Henderson will get the next [title] shot,” White stated following Thursday’s press conference in Chicago.
While Hendo was assigned the tourney’s top seed, most likely because he was slated to challenge for the belt at UFC 151 until tearing his knee, he’ll have to serve up an upset special to earn a championship affair because Machida is more than a 2-to-1 odds-on favorite to reign supreme on February 23rd.
If “The Dragon” beats the former Strikeforce champ, he won’t necessarily receive the Hendo treatment, which is peculiar because White dubbed him the division’s top contender in August after putting Ryan Bader to sleep.
Instead, White decided to take his infamous “we’ll see what happens” approach with a victorious Machida. That brings us to the other end of the brackets where up-and-coming superstar Alexander Gustafsson battles Octagon rookie Gegard Mousasi in Sweden.
If the victor of that April 6th shootout posts a more devastating win than Machida, he will leapfrog the Brazilian and get next dibs at the throne.
Unfortunately for the tourney’s winner, he’ll most likely be fed to reigning champion Jon Jones, arguably the most unstoppable force going in mixed martial arts. “Bones” is currently an astronomical 10-to-1 favorite to steamroll Chael Sonnen at UFC 159.
Let the games begin!