The nicknames “Smooth” and “Showtime” are not only attached to UFC lightweight champ Benson Henderson and top contender Anthony Pettis (16-2) respectively but they are also excellent descriptions of each man’s approach to striking. Henderson is prone to picking opponents apart over an extended period of time, while Pettis is primarily flash and owns a number of memorable knockouts.
Henderson recently spoke with the UFC about how he plans to handle Pettis’ striking when the two square off at UFC 164, saying the first step towards success is focusing on the things he can control rather than worrying about his adversary’s arsenal.
“For me, to be an effective striker in this fight I have go out there and do my thing,” explained Hendrson. ‘I have gotta go out there and instill my will. I have to not be worried about what he’s going to throw. I have to not be wide-eyed, watching him, waiting for him to throw something. I have to be aggressive.”
“I’m not really sure what to expect,” he admitted when pressed on the topic. “With guys like Anthony, they’re a little more unpredictable. You’re not quite sure what they’re gonna do…what kinda gameplan they’re gonna have. So we’re gonna go out there and be prepared to beat him up, instill my gameplan. Instill our gameplan. I’m not really too worried about his.”
“My job is to go in there and fight, beat somebody up, and get my hand raised,” he concluded. “I bust my butt too hard to lose.”
The 19-2 Henderson will put his title on the line in the August 31 tilt for the fourth time, beating Frankie Edgar, Nate Diaz, and Gilbert Melendez in his previous defenses. Meanwhile, Pettis is on a three-fight winning streak including knockouts of Donald Cerrone and Joe Lauzon. Pettis also owns a 2010 decision victory over Henderson from their WEC featuring his infamous “Showtime Kick” off the cage.
The full interview with Henderson can be seen below: