On Sat., Feb. 25, 2012, Ben Henderson (R) will do his best to get his hands on UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar (L), as well as his belt. Photo courtesy Dan Herbertson.
If you want to be the man, you have to beat the man.
That is the challenge that lies ahead for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) number one 155-pound contender, Ben Henderson, when he takes on Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar at UFC 144 at the Saitama Super Arena this weekend (Sat., Feb. 25, 2012) in Saitama, Japan.
The elusive Edgar has been a riddle who not many mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters have been able to "Answer," but "Bendo" believes he has a few tricks up his sleeve that will aid him in solving the puzzle.
During a recent appearance on HDNet's "Inside MMA," Henderson elaborated on what his strategy may possibly be:
"We have some new tricks that we might unveil for the fight, as far as holding him on the ground. But holding him there is not our biggest concern; it's getting him there. He's fast. He's light on his feet. He has a lot of movement. He moves around very well. So, first thing's first and that's getting our hands on him, cutting off the ring, cornering him to get our hands on him. And then after that, if he pops back up, let him pop back up. If we took him down once, we can take him down again. It's just a matter of cornering him, cutting off the ring and getting our hands on him."
Easier said than done.
In a fight with two athletes this fast and dangerous, there is certainly the potential for a quick finish, but there's also the possibility that the evenness with which they are matched may result in the fight being decided by the judges' scorecards.
"Smooth" predicts an entertaining bout, but admits that he is a little nervous about thing if it does go to a decision:
"I think it's gonna be a fun affair. I think it's gonna be action packed. You're gonna have a little bit of 'true MMA,' with work on the feet and on the ground. It'll be a little bit of everywhere. You'll see a little bit of everything. The only thing I'm really too concerned about is losing a round by a couple points here, losing a round by a couple points there and ultimately going to a decision. That's the only thing I really am concerned about. But, you know. It is what it is. We'll see how it plays out."
Styles make fights. We've seen that axiom prove to be true time and time again. It's hard to know exactly what to expect when two high level wrestlers meet in the cage, but Henderson made his best guess.
Anyone for some kickboxing?
"I think it'll be two very good wrestlers going in there and, because we are two very good wrestlers, it will end up being a stand up fight for the majority of the fight. If that's the case, I'm ready to do that for 25 minutes and say, 'Let's have a kickboxing match for 25 minutes.' I'm okay with that."
Henderson went on to describe the experience he's had so far in Japan. He told Kenny Rice and Bas Rutten (who went to the trouble of recommending where to eat in Japan before he remembered that Henderson is in the process of cutting weight) that he's enjoying the journey and getting ready for Saturday:
"It's pretty cool to be here in Japan and to be fighting in Japan and all that. Logistically, getting used to the time difference and all that fun stuff -- it is what it is. You gotta deal with it and do the bets you can and you hopefully have your best performance, come fight night."
Will Henderson be able to get his hands on Edgar? Or will "The Answer" prove to be too quick and elusive to be cornered or cut down?