Don’t let the long hair or love of comic books fool you. UFC lightweight Benson Henderson is as blue-collar a fighter as you’ll find on the organization’s roster. When it comes to his chosen profession, rather than craving attention, acting out, or making demands, “Bendo” is content bringing his lunch-pail to his proverbial office on a daily basis and simply going to work.
Henderson offered a look into his mindset during a recent interview with the UFC’s website in addressing his attitude about fighting, pointing out he has a habit of competing in BJJ tournaments while remaining under the radar and even did so a week after winning the lightweight title from Frankie Edgar at UFC 144.
“I don’t need the spotlight on me. I love to compete, I love the competition aspect of life, and I love the martial arts aspect of living and constantly improving and bettering yourself and not getting complacent. I’m trying to get better, even if it’s the weekend after a fight. I’m trying to have fun, go compete, and improve whatever realm I’m in,” explained the 28-year old.
As one might expect, the same attitude carries over into the cage as well where Henderson has looked better than ever over the past year, racking up victories over Edgar, Mark Bocek, Clay Guida, and Jim Miller. When it comes to opponents in general, Henderson is happy to take on any adversary based on both his confidence as well as an approach to MMA allowing his bosses to their jobs so he can focus on his own responsibilities.
“In my eyes, I don’t really see myself as one of those prima donna wide receivers: ‘I want this, and this has gotta happen.’ I represent the UFC, I’m the 155-pound guy right now, and even if you don’t have the belt, it’s not about you calling some guys out. To me, that’s kinda tacky and disrespectful,” said Henderson. “It’s Sean Shelby, Joe Silva, and Dana White’s job to put somebody in front of you. Whoever they put in front of me, I will beat up. It doesn’t matter. My job is not to match myself up and call this guy or that guy out. I’m not gonna go on Twitter and make my own match. Some guys are into that and that’s the way they want to pursue their career, and they can go right ahead. My job is to beat people up.”
Though some have read his nonchalance about match-ups as obscene self-assuredness, the 16-2 Henderson is quick to dismiss that notion, saying that striving to go down in history as one of the top competitors his chosen sport has ever seen is an essential element found in any high-level athlete.
“People seem to think that I’m arrogant or cocky, and I don’t want to come across like that,” offered Henderson on the topic of how he’s been perceived in certain circles. “I’ve said it from the very beginning that I want to be the best fighter and I want to fight and beat everybody. It’s not me looking ahead and being cocky all of a sudden like, oh, I beat Frankie Edgar and now all of a sudden I’m gonna smash everybody. I was saying this from the beginning. I’m as confident as any other fighter on the UFC roster. I’m a very confident fighter and all fighters are, or they should be. I want to fight everybody on the roster at 155, I want to beat ‘em all, and I want to have a nice long reign at 155. I’ll do a Bernard Hopkins or Joe Louis. I want to make 155 my weight class and I want my name to be synonymous with it. I think that would be something special.”
Henderson will have a chance to further solidify his reputation later this year, possibly at UFC 149 in Calgary, by taking on Edgar a second time to eliminate any doubt about his decision win over “The Answer” last month.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC