It’s hard not to appreciate the talents possessed by lightweight title-holder Benson Henderson given his 7-0 mark in the Octagon including wins over Clay Guida, Jim Miller, Frankie Edgar, Nate Diaz, and Gilbert Melendez. In that regard, top contender Anthony Pettis has a good deal of respect for Henderson. However, when it comes to the way “Bendo” has held on to the belt it’s a different story altogether.
Pettis recently sat down with MMAJunkie where he criticized Henderson’s “do just enough to win” approach, saying he couldn’t relate to that sort of strategy.
“I’m sure he’s expecting a five-round fight. He’s the champ, and he knows he needs to win five rounds to keep that belt. Georges St-Pierre does it the same way. These guys are intelligent fighters, and they know they have to win the rounds to keep their belt,” said Pettis, comparing his own approach to the type Henderson employs. “I’m expecting him to do what he’s been doing. He’s going to come out, do just enough to win the rounds, and keep his belt. That’s his game plan, and that’s never my game plan. I’m always looking to finish.”
“I’m not a fan of that style. I wouldn’t even try doing that. That’s just manipulating the rules of the game to keep your title,” he continued. “If you’re truly the best, I mean, look at Anderson Silva. He got knocked out in his last fight, but I think he’s truly the best because he’s finished some top guys, and he does it impressively. He’s not trying to grind it out and stay on top of you to win the rounds. He’s out there fighting fights. That’s what I respect, and that’s who I want to be.”
Pettis will have a chance to emulate Silva’s swagger when he squares off against Henderson on August 31 iat UFC 164. For the record, Pettis has finished 13 of the 16 opponents he’s beaten, while “Bendo” has ten stoppages in nineteen total victories (but zero inside the Octagon).