TSC Interviews: UFC fighter Ben Henderson
Bendo talks life in the UFC.
Former World Extreme Cagefighting lightweight champion Ben “Smooth” Henderson has seen his mixed martial arts career take some crazy turns in recent months.
Editor's Note: "Smooth" was victorious.
Henderson (12-2) was set to face the winner of Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard II to unify the WEC and UFC lightweight titles, following parent company Zuffa’s plans to merge the two promotions.
All Henderson had to do was beat a guy named Anthony "Showtime" Pettis. In a five round, 25 minute classic, Pettis defeated Henderson by unanimous decision at the very last WEC show in December to win the lightweight title.
The fight was closely contested almost the entire time, until Pettis threw a kick that Henderson says came out of “Mortal Kombat” by springboarding off the cage. Many fans and analysts called it the greatest kick in MMA history and poof--a star was born.
What is overlooked from that point on by some MMA observers is the fact that Henderson was a great WEC champion, who gave fans some of the most exciting fights in the sport’s history. Up to that point, Henderson was undefeated in his WEC career. It should also be noted that despite eating that huge kick, Henderson was never knocked out and survived to let the fight go the distance.
In terms of class and toughness, Henderson exemplifies those two qualities better than most fighters. Soft-spoken outside the cage and hard-hitting inside of it, Henderson now gears up for the career re-up of a lifetime at UFC 129 in Toronto on April 30. He has chance to get his first official UFC win in front of 55,000 people on the biggest MMA pay-per-view event in history.
Before that can happen, he’ll have to get through Mark Bocek, who will have the home country crowd behind him--a challenge Henderson is not taking lightly.
Henderson spoke to The Sports Courier about life after “The Kick,” UFC 129, and the positive influence of the MMA Lab on his life.
Fast facts about Ben Henderson:
- Professional MMA record of 12-2
- Former WEC lightweight champion
- Notable wins over Donald Cerrone (twice), Shane Roller, Jamie Varner, and Anthony Njokuani
- Making UFC debut at UFC 129: ST-PIERRE VS. SHIELDS
You’ve had a crazy few months between your fight with Pettis and your upcoming UFC debut. Despite losing the WEC title, do you feel like being on the main card of the biggest UFC event ever makes up for that?
I don’t look at being on the UFC 129 card as a consolation prize or anything. At the end of the day, any fighter’s goal is to get that belt. I had the WEC belt and now I want the UFC lightweight belt. That being said, I’m very honored to be on the biggest UFC in history, especially on the main card. Mark Bocek is an extremely tough fighter.