UFC champ Benson Henderson explains recent request for superfight with St-Pierre


  • Share on Tumblr
  • submit to reddit

From where Benson Henderson is sitting, he really was only going along with the new trend.

Henderson (18-2 MMA, 6-0 UFC), the UFC’s lightweight champion, recently made a few waves when it was reported that he put in a request for a superfight with welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre (23-2 MMA, 17-2 UFC). It was news only for a short time when UFC President Dana White basically shot it down before it could take flight.

Henderson has a title defense coming up in April against Gilbert Melendez (21-2 MMA, 11-1 SF, 0-0 UFC) in the main event of UFC on FOX 7 in San Jose, Calif. St-Pierre defends his title next week in the main event of UFC 158 in Montreal.

As far as the recent spate of so-called superfights go, Chael Sonnen is getting a title shot against Jon Jones in his first fight back at light heavyweight after a middleweight title loss to Anderson Silva. Frankie Edgar lost back-to-back lightweight title fights to Henderson, then dropped to featherweight and got a title shot against Jose Aldo. Despite being told he was the new next in line for a lightweight title shot against Henderson, Anthony Pettis is dropping down to featherweight to face Aldo. And if Aldo wins that one, he has been told he gets to move up to lightweight to go after the belt there.

All that, and we haven’t even brought up the ones everyone has been asking for for a while – St-Pierre vs. Silva and Silva vs. Jones.

Confused yet? So too, apparently, was Henderson, who thought maybe that’s just the way the game is played these days.

“Everyone’s going out calling out fights: ‘Oh, I want to fight this guy, I want to fight that guy,’” Henderson on Monday told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). “I didn’t know – if that’s how the UFC works, if that’s the type of organization it is where you can just willy-nilly go around calling out who you want to fight next, then sure. If that’s how the UFC as a business operates, you call out who you want next, and that’s your next guy, I understand that. I’ll do that – I’ll call out who I want next.

“But if that’s not how it’s supposed to work, if that’s just a fluke, just one or two rare cases of it happening in the UFC and you’re not supposed to call out who you want next, then whatever. Cool – I won’t call out who I want next and I’ll face whoever they put in front of me, like always.”

Henderson said his coach and management team was part of the decision to ask about the viability of a shot at St-Pierre for after the fight with Melendez, and that when it comes to doing such things, he believes it’s most prudent for the smaller fighter to ask for a shot at the bigger fighter – not the other way around.

Of course, it shouldn’t be forgotten that Pettis at 155 asked for the shot at Aldo at 145 – and that Pettis and Henderson have just a little bit of history behind them. Henderson lost his WEC lightweight title to Pettis at WEC 53, the promotion’s final event. And if Henderson beats Melendez next month, Pettis would’ve been his next opponent in a rematch.

“If I’m going to call someone out, I don’t want to call someone out who’s smaller than me,” Henderson said. “I want to call out someone who’s bigger than me. So let’s do the next weight class up.”

It’s moot, for now, of course. Henderson said he hasn’t wavered his focus on what’s next, which is Melendez, though. Melendez is making his UFC debut after a long run in Strikeforce, and Henderson knows what it’s like to be the new kid on the bigger block coming over from the little brother promotion.

He did the same thing moving from the WEC to the UFC in 2011.

“People don’t realize how tough Gil is,” he said. “Gil has been a top two, three on the planet at 155 for a long time. He’s a tough fighter, he comes from a great team and he’s going to have a great game plan. I know how tough he is. He has big wins over some of the top-name 155-pounders who have been up there for a long time. I think as soon as people start realizing how tough he is and how good he really is, then they’ll come around.”

Henderson is giving Melendez the home-cage advantage fighting near his Bay Area training base in San Jose, but said he relishes the chance to fight in hostile territory. He did it in his UFC debut at UFC 129 in front of 55,000 Canadian fans who wanted to see Mark Bocek beat him.

But Melendez also gets the advantage of having cornered teammate Nate Diaz in his five-round title fight loss to Henderson in December. More advantage for Melendez? Maybe. But Henderson said it’s on him and his team to be ready for that.

“If you get a chance to watch your opponent up close and personal, coaching against him, of course you’re going to be able to take some things away,” Henderson said. “He and his team are smart – they’re going to take away a lot of good stuff from that fight. They have 25 minutes of up close, personal information to take away from it. So it’s my team’s job to make sure we bring more stuff to the table.”

And maybe after that, with a win, he can resurrect some GSP talk. If, of course, that’s how the game is played.

For more on UFC on FOX 7, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie.com Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, MMAjunkie.com lead staff reporter John Morgan and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

view original article >>

Related News

  • 8 days ago
  • 53 views

In the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA flyweight rankings, Chris Cariaso checks in at No. 11. So why is he getting a title shot with the No. 1-ranked fighter and reigning flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson?Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

  • 6 days ago
  • 12 views

After a heartbreaking decision loss to Benson Henderson in his most recent fight, Josh Thomson couldn’t find the will to return to the octagon. These days, the UFC lightweight asks himself whether every fight is his last.Filed under: Featured Videos, News, UFC, (...) read news >>

  • 4 days ago
  • 2 views

Benson Henderson returns to the Octagon next month when he takes on fellow top-ranked lightweight Rafael Dos Anjos in the main event of the August 23 UFC Fight Night event in Tulsa, Oklahoma. read news >>

  • 29 days ago
  • 28 views

UFC Featherweight champ Jose Aldo is injured and won't be able to defend his title against Chad Mendes at UFC 176. MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani reported on UFC Tonight on Fox Sports 1 that UFC Featherweight champ Jose Aldo is injured and his UFC 176 headliner against Chad Mendes is cancelled. This is terrible news for Jose Aldo fans who have had to endure cancelled fight after long injury induced layoffs between rare opportunites to see their man in the Octagon. Since becoming the UFC Featherwei read news >>

  • 28 days ago
  • 21 views

After failing to wrest the belt from UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, former Olympian Sara McMann will face another champion in her next bout. read news >>

  • 28 days ago
  • 46 views

Steamrolling UFC women's bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey will go for her third title defense in three months when she squares off with Alexis Davis in the co-main event of UFC 175 this weekend (Sat., July 5, 2014). Is there any chance of Davis dethroning the dominant queen? Read our fight preview to find out! This Saturday night (July 5, 2014), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women's bantamweight gold will be on the line when Ronda Rousey meets Alexis Davis in the co-main event of UFC 175, read news >>

  • 28 days ago
  • 59 views

Chris Weidman sat down with the Media during the build up to 175 and talked about the recent rash of drug test failures in the UFC, and he had some harsh words for Vitor Belfort most particularly. read news >>

  • 28 days ago
  • 6910 views

"Rush" left on a high note -- 12 straight wins -- a remarkable achievement that has his former nemesis a bit jealous. After defending his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight title for a division-record ninth consecutive time against Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 in Nov. 2013, Georges St-Pierre announced that he would relinquish his title and take an indefinite leave of absence from mixed martial arts (MMA). Because according to the former champion, the pressure and his battle with obs read news >>

  • 27 days ago
  • 114 views

Former UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes said back in February that he'd be surprised to see fellow former champion Georges St-Pierre actually make a return to the Octagon. Now, Hughes is urging his former rival to make his competitive hiatus permanent. "The UFC would hate me saying this but I'm going to say it anyway," Hughes told Canada.com (via MMA Mania). "If I was GSP, I'd probably hang them up. Here I am a guy that lost my (last) two fights and I'd love to get back in there (to finish read news >>