EXCLUSIVE | Ben Henderson’s Russian mix up: “I had Rustam confused for Khabib”
Former UFC and WEC lightweight champion Benson Henderson is not one to back down from a challenge. And coming off a controversial decision win over Josh Thomson at UFC on Fox 10 he has a little bit of a point to prove.
With his lack luster performance it doesn’t seem like the UFC is prepared to put Benson back into title contingency just yet. So, what’s the best way to get attention? Why call out any fighter that crosses your path right? One thing Benson may want to make sure of next time though is to know who exactly he’s calling out.
Rustam Khabilov, an up and coming Russian fighter, called “Smooth” out via Twitter in one of the nicest call outs I’ve ever seen. More of a plead to UFC President Dana White than a “call out” the Russian asks White for a fight that will surely bring Khabilov into higher ranking if he was able to defeat Henderson.
“I would be very happy to fight with such a great fighter like @BensonHenderson on UFC 173 in May @ufc @danawhite I’m ready for big fights”
The former champ was quick to respond, however he wasn’t responding to who he thought he was exactly.
“@KhabilovMMA @ufc @danawhite seems like no 1 wants to play with u buddy (mysteriously). well I’ll be ur huckleberry… I’ll be ready by June”
To his defense, Khabilov… Khabib.. Come on, those Russian names are tricky. Just ask Rafael dos Anjos who made the exact same mistake as he mixed up Khabilov and Nurmagomedov as well. In the end it all kind of worked out for Rafael dos Anjos after Khabilov got injured and Rafael was booked to face off against who he originally intended to in Nurmagomedov at UFC 172.
BJPenn.com boss Pedro Carrasco was able to clear things up with Henderson who is currently in the midst of his honeymoon and most likely focusing his energy on his lovely new wife and less on the outside world.
Henderson admits that he had the two Russian fighters mixed up but says that has little to do with the fact that he’ll accept any challenge presented to him.
“Yeah, I had Rustam confused for Khabib, doesn’t matter to me though, it’s whatever… somebody wanting to fight me is awesome. They say everyone mostly turns down fights when my name is brought up & offered.”
Well not this time Benson. It seems that Rustam has high hopes in using Benson as a stepping stone, and Henderson has damn sure never been that for anyone.
Now all thats left is to see if Joe Silva and Dana White see some potential in the match up. Only time will tell.
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