Ben Henderson Ready To Prove He’s The Top Contender

Henderson disappointed at lack of Fox airtime but ready to make up for it

The UFC lightweight divisional machine finally got back on the road last month in Houston. Following this weekend’s clash between former WEC champion Ben Henderson and Clay Guida, the weight class should be downright zipping along.

Both fighters have ground through the competitition to place themselves in line for a shot at the lightweight throne. With title implications lingering and the organization on the cusp of major exposure, the pressure would enough to get beneath most fighter’s skin.

But Ben Henderson isn’t most fighters and they don’t call the man “Smooth” for nothing.

“It’s going to be the same as always,” Henderson explained. “Expect me to go out there and give my heart and soul and hopefully a good fight will come out of it. I really do give my all every time out and when I get in the cage I give 100%. My fans and the hardcore MMA fans, with all the fights they’ve seen me in, know that as well. Casual fans tuning in for the first time on Saturday night are going to know that also. It’s going to be the same as always and I’m going out there to do what I always do.

“As far as my motivation for this fight with Guida; I’m not one of those guys who needs to get emotional, tied up, or talk crap about somebody to get motivated to train. I’m the same everyday and I train hard because I want to win. I don’t need any extra motivation of people talking or title shots – those things don’t matter. My motivation is to go in there and get the win.”

“The Carpenter” has become a fan favorite behind a gritty, rambunctious style where he uses a rapid pace to grind his opponents to the breaking point. Henderson, whose pace and cardio are also off the charts, believes it will come down to who can take it to the limit.

“I think the match-up is great. Clay Guida is known for having great cardio, pushing the pace and being a strong wrestler. My cardio and wrestling are both pretty good as well. I think it’s a good match-up because some of his strongest points are the same as mine.

“I think it comes down to not only who can take the pace further but who can keep it there for 15 minutes. I can run a lap with an Olympic distance runner but when it comes to the second and third lap I’d be broken by then. The same situation applies to fighting. Someone may be able to fight at my pace for three or four minutes, maybe even one round but I would bet against anybody keeping up with me for three or five rounds.”

In the weeks leading up to the bout, the UFC made an executive decision to make the heavyweight title fight between Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos the only fight airing on the TV event. This pushed the frenetic lightweight match-up to Facebook.

“To be honest I was a little bit bummed when Dana White announced on the Fox card there would only be one fight. It bummed me out for a minute and made me kind of sad but it is what it is. Things like this happen in life and if things don’t go your way or the way you want them to – oh well, it is not a big deal. Life goes on. So I got over it and I’m going to do what I was going to do anyway which is to go out there and get the win.”

Saturday night’s fight between Henderson and Guida will create a shifting point in the highly competitive world of the lightweights. Following champion Frankie Edgar’s successful title defense in Houston and Joe Lauzon’s upset of Melvin Guillard, the number one contender’s spot is there for the taking. With that being said, Henderson remains unaffected by the hype.

“I don’t really think about the division or the rankings and who is supposed to be in what spot. It all sorts itself out. While I like the analysis in sports like football where they break down what could happen in games and teams are supposed to do this or that; I’m not really big on doing it for life in general. So much can happen. In football they analyzed who was going to win when the Giants played the Patriots in the Super Bowl. They talked about who was supposed to do this and how this team would win. Guess what? The Giants won and the same thing applies for fighters.

“In MMA, with the talk of this guy or that guy can fight for the title, when it is all said and done we’ll get to see. People say, “This guy is up there and he can fight for the title but what if this or that happens.” I don’t think about that stuff and I don’t let it concern me too much. My job is to go out there and beat up whoever is in front of me. Hopefully not too long down the road I get to fight for a title and get a belt strapped around my waist. After that it goes right back to being the same and I’ll continue to beat up whoever is in front of me. That is why I try not to put too much into analyzing the division or the rankings.

“Obviously I’ve heard things about a title shot, rumors here and there but I try not to put any stock into them unless Dana White has gone on the record and says something about it. For Jim Miller there was video of him saying if Jim beat me he would get the next title shot. I saw him say it, so that I believed. I hear people talk about, “Ben Henderson is next in line for a title shot,” but until I hear Dana White say it, those things are just rumors. With that being said, if Dana, Joe Silva and Lorenzo Fertitta decide to bless me with a title shot after Saturday night I will by all means take it.”

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