Benson Henderson: ‘I’m the No. 1 Contender’

January 21, 2014 6:00 am by Kenya Owens

Benson Henderson feels like his upcoming fight against Josh Thomson is going to be “a tough, knockdown, drag-out war.” Henderson, who is no stranger to intense, nail-biting action, is going to be facing his first opponent in two years where he has not been announced as the champion. And though Dana White has made statements suggesting that it may be a little while until Henderson gets another go at current lightweight champion, Anthony Pettis, Henderson is treating every fight like the one that will lead him directly to his potential title shot.

“I’m the No. 1 contender, so after I beat Josh, I think I’m at No. 1 still,” Henderson said. “There’s nowhere to go for me except a title shot. I’m the No. 1 contender, and after I beat the next guy, I’ll stay No. 1 contender.”

And while he’s determined and confident in training for his UFC on FOX 10 matchup, he is in no way underestimating his opponent, former Strikeforce lightweight champion, Josh Thomson.

“I see this one being a war,” Henderson said. “I know he can go five rounds. He’s a true veteran of the game. You know he’s going to be prepared, going to be ready. He’s trained with so many guys in his MMA career and fought so many guys that there’s not going to be a whole lot that surprises him.

“I see this fight being a tough, knockdown, drag-out war – a battle of attrition. I need to make sure I win that battle.”

As well as the pressures of getting back to the belt, Henderson may have a little extra motivation for beating Thomson in this fight. While the two were in separate organizations before UFC (Henderson in WEC and Thomson in Strikeforce), Thomson made some comments about Henderson and the rest of the WEC lightweight division not deserving their top 10 rankings.

“I have a pretty good memory, and I remember when guys talk smack about me,” Henderson said. “I remember when other fighters say something derogatory about me. I don’t forget that stuff.”


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