Ben Henderson wants to fight all of the top lightweights in the world ... at the same time

UFC Lightweight Champion Ben Henderson may not get to choose he fights next, but he's made it known that he doesn't care who his next challenger will be.

On Feb. 25, 2012, a new Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight Champion was crowned as Ben Henderson defeated Frankie Edgar in a violent, five-round war at UFC 144 in Saitama, Japan.

Since that infamous night, speculation has run rampant regarding who "Smooth" will take on in his very first title defense.

Edgar made it known that he believes he deserves an immediate title shot. Anthony Pettis was also vocal about his desire to have "first dibs," after he soundly defeated Joe Lauzon with a first round knockout on that very same UFC 144 card.

On HDNet's "Inside MMA," Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez made the following comments in reference to his desire to take on "Bendo" in the cage:

"I'd love to fight Benson Henderson. I've been around this game a lot longer. I'm not trying to be arrogant here, but I think I can handle him, and I'd like to find out. Much respect to him, much respect to Frankie and all that stuff, but I think I can beat them both. I can beat anyone right now. I'd love a piece of him."

Hear what Henderson had to say after the jump:

When asked by Kenny Rice who (out of Edgar, Pettis and Melendez) "Bendo" would like to fight next, this was his reponse:

"All of them. Line 'em up. One after another. Every single one of them. You better believe it. One after another. I want to defeat every single 155-pound guy on the roster of the UFC. I wanna beat all of them."

The hosts of "Inside MMA" took the questioning one step further and asked Henderson about the order he'd like to have this happen:

"I'd take them all on one night. Let's do it. I'm ready to go. I really don't care. It doesn't matter to me. The fan in me, I definitely understand where Frankie's coming from, having to give two rematches. I don't wanna be that guy who they say, 'Oh, Henderson was afraid to give a rematch when he (Edgar) had to give two rematches.' I don't wanna be the champ who, that's talked about or that's said."

Regarding Pettis' claim to an owed title shot, Henderson will fight him, but he's still not sure he's deserving number one contender:

"Anthony Pettis, he has his statement. He has a win over Jeremy Stephens. A split decision. One quality win over Joe Lauzon, who's a tough opponent. But, other than that, not a whole lot of depth in his UFC career. But whoever it is, it doesn't matter. I'll take 'em all on."

The question who he will fight next is one that really only UFC President Dana White and his top matchmaker Joe Silva can answer.

However, there is also the question of when Henderson will be ready to go. Henderson detailed his current health situation and what his time frame for a title defense looks like:

"I feel pretty good. I'm completely healthy. Whenever I talk to the Commission doctors and the UFC doctors, I tell them every little thing. I get a bruised pinky, I hurt my toe, my ear hurts, I tell the doctors all that, just in case if afterwards, a couple days later, it is injured an still does hurt, I'm covered. My knuckles were pretty sore, but after a couple days, the soreness went away. They're all good.

I' like to have a little bit longer in between my fights. I just started fighting in 2006. I'm still pretty young in this game. I have a world of growing to do in my boxing, a world of growing to do in my jiu-jitsu, my wrestling an in MMA in general. I'd like to have time in between my fights so I can actually get better, so that I'm a better fighter next time I step into the cage. I wanna switch from training camp to training camp to training camp. I wanna improve as a fighter. I'd like to have a little more time in between, but when you have the belt, you gotta do what you gotta do."

At this point, White doesn't seem super keen on a rematch between Henderson and Edgar. He's even gone as far as to say he'd prefer to have Edgar drop down and face Jose Aldo for the featherweight title.

Melendez would certainly make for a tough opponent and a fight that would bring in decent numbers, but "El Nino" seems stuck, for the time being, over in the Strikeforce hexagon, a place that fans can expect to not see Henderson anytime soon.

Lastly, there is Pettis, who Henderson doesn't necessarily think deserves the title, but he very well may get it by default in this scenario.

Who do you Maniacs want to see "Bendo" take on next? Let us know in the comment section wo you believe would make for the most exciting first title defense.

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