UFC lightweight champ Benson Henderson is an incredibly skilled competitor and a genuinely personable guy as well. However, he’s not the type of fighter who goes out of his way to promote himself in interviews by making outrageous claims, letting his performances in the ring speak volumes.
While Henderson is well-liked by fans, his humble attitude has slowed him from achieving the same level of mainstream success some of his counterparts have found. He’s also aware a change in how he markets himself would make a difference. Still, he’s not certain he wants to be a 155-pound version of Chael Sonnen just yet.
“He knows it’s a promotional game. He is of average speed, average athletic-wise, white guy, average-looking, and he wrestles guys. He holds guys down – that’s his game,” said Henderson of Sonnen in an interview with MMAJunkie. “Who wants to see that? That’s not a super-marketable (style). But as soon as he starts talking, he’s very marketable. And he knows that.”
Sonnen has been at the forefront of MMA for the past few years despite mixed success in the cage. Rather, the bulk of attention he’s received has related to his ability to sell himself, his opponents, and the UFC’s product through a constant stream of comments that are often humorous and insightful, occasionally cringe-worthy as well.
Regardless of how successful it has been for Sonnen, the 17-2 Henderson still seems intent on wowing crowds with his output in the Octagon instead of on Twitter or UFC Tonight.
“You have to be entertaining and have a few tricks up your sleeves, (to where people say), ‘Oh wow, what was that?’ A few entertaining tricks, and hopefully you pull them off,” explained Henderson of his approach to competition.
Henderson will have a chance to turn heads in a month when he defends his title against Nate Diaz on network television at UFC on FOX 5. He will be going for his sixth straight UFC win in the bout, a feat Sonnen has never come close to achieving. With a headlining slot on FOX and title in tow, it appears “Bendo” is proof that a degree in spewing smack isn’t quite as important as a polished skill-set and relentless drive to improve one’s craft.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC