There aren’t many fighters, if any, who work harder than UFC lightweight champ Benson Henderson. Henderson is a constant presence at the MMA Lab in Arizona whether training for a tilt, helping one of his teammates improve, or simply trying to refine his own craft, and in-between bouts, “Bendo” doesn’t take time off to vacation – he competes in grappling tournaments.
Henderson credits his all-out approach to life as being key to his success in the Octagon, telling MMAFighting he has a great appreciation for the ability to dedicate oneself wholly to a cause.
“What I really love more than anything else is if you’re the champion, to be pushed and tested and show that you’re the champion. Like when Anderson Silva was down four-and-a-half rounds and got the triangle. That showed his heart. The first Donald Cerrone fight, I had to be carried out. I didn’t hold anything back,” explained Henderson. “It amazes me that horses can run so hard till they burst their own heart. As a fighter, I appreciate that. I get what it is, not holding back anything.”
“I didn’t hold anything back, because if I did, I probably would have lost the fight (to Cerrone). If I had lost, my career path could have changed. I might not be here now,” he continued. “I’m thankful I was able to open up my heart, not to hold anything back. That’s what I liked to be. That’s what the fans like to see in UFC, football games, basketball games, people like to see the athlete give everything they have.”
Henderson’s 2009 clash with Cerrone was one of the most memorable match-ups in WEC history, and the 29-year old division king is hoping to put on a similar showing against Gilbert Melendez at UFC on FOX 7. Though it’s impossible to know how entertaining their effort will ultimately be until it takes place, even Henderson admits the stage is certainly set for an epic encounter. Of course, that’s not changing the way he is approaching the April 20 outing.
“I don’t care where the fight takes place. All that stuff is just add on. It’s just hoopla to hype up a fight. I’ve been through it, the first time in UFC, the first time on pay-per-view, the first time in a main event and first time in a main event in my hometown. Hometown, not hometown, I’m going to put as much into my preparations if the fight is in the back of a 7-11 or at Cowboys Stadium before 100,000 people in the largest crowd in UFC history,” said Henderson confidently.
PHOTO CREDIT – MMAWEEKLY/UFC