Benson Henderson had to truly work his way to getting a UFC lightweight title shot, and now that he’s got the belt and defended it twice, he has a very simple message to the rest of the division.
If you want the 155lb title, you’re going to have to go through him first because he’s not going anywhere.
Normally a very soft-spoken fighter who avoids trash talk of any kind, Henderson put a very emphatic stamp on his reign as champion last night with a dominant decision victory over Nate Diaz at UFC on Fox 5. Outside of a couple submission attempts, Diaz was never in the fight against Henderson, who got the best of him at every turn.
Now with his title reign solidified, Henderson isn’t worried about what’s next, who’s next or how many lightweight challengers call him out.
Henderson says earn a title shot and then come try and take the belt from him.
“The list of guys is so long really. I heard a little bit of talk about these guys thinking I was going to lose, and Nate was better than me. You’re entitled to your opinion, you can think whatever you want to think,” said Henderson when speaking to Fuel TV.
“But if you want the 155lb belt in the next three years, you’re going to have to get it from me. I’m not going nowhere.”
The list of contenders mostly points at two potential fights for Henderson. First there’s Anthony Pettis, the last fighter to defeat Henderson when they battled as a part of the final WEC show.
He next fights Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at UFC on Fox 6 in January, and with a win he could all but lock up his spot against Henderson.
The other name on the list is Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez who will end up in the UFC at some point in early 2013. He’s currently sidelined by a shoulder injury that prevented him from fighting at the final Strikeforce show in January.
Once he arrives in the UFC, Melendez would automatically become a very intriguing challenger to Henderson’s title.
Whether it’s Anthony Pettis, Gilbert Melendez, or anybody else at 155lbs, Henderson welcomes the challenge, but has no plans of relinquishing the belt for a long, long time.
“You want to win that belt? You’re not going to win it from somebody else, you’re going to have to win it from me,” said Henderson. “I’m not going nowhere.”