The time has come to see who rises a few steps on the lightweight ladder, with Anthony Pettis being at the top.
Benson Henderson and Josh Thomson will square off tonight (Sat., Jan. 25, 2014) at UFC on FOX 10: "Henderson vs. Thomson," which takes place at United Center in Chicago, Illinois.
The main card can be seen live on FOX, while the "Prelims" will be aired on FOX Sports 1 (FS1).
As the fighters who are taking part in this event finished off a week of media appearances and successfully made weight yesterday (see staredown pics here), it is time for their "Last Words," before the time for talking is over and the fists start flying.
Media Day Interviews
Reporters gathered around and recorded a couple of sound bytes with the UFC on FOX 10 main card fighters for their respective outlets, and the headlining competitors were at the forefront of them.
Henderson spoke about Thomson's call out, and how he perceives his opponent.
On Thomson's call out while under Strikeforce at a pre-fight press conference:
"I remember those shenanigans. At the time, I wanted to say that I wanted to fight him because he was in Strikeforce, you know, whatever...I was just interesting in seeing, like ‘Oh, why would he specifically name me out, call me out? I was like, shocked. That was interesting...I wondered why out of everybody he can choose, he chooses me."
On if his opponent has grown up as a fighter:
"I don't think 'The Punk' moniker really applies too much to him now. He's 35 years old, it's hard to be a punk when you're 35. When you're 21, 22, and you're a pro fighter and you're one of the baddest dudes on the planet, it could be pretty easy to be a punk."
On if he will go back to looking like a more normal, traditional Benson as opposed to UFC 164:
"I didn't realize it was a different look. I don't know, I haven't even thought about it. I'm not sure."
Thomson spoke to MMA Fighting about his recent past and where a win could put him after tomorrow night.
On if this is a fight he wanted after seeing people rank Henderson higher back in the day to prove he was better than him:
"No, I never thought about it that way. I just thought that we had a good, little thing going on in Strikeforce and I just wanted other people to recognize it. That was the biggest thing. When you're a fighter, you're trying to represent your organization the best you can, trying to get publicity for that organization, just like I'm doing here right now."
On if he regrets saying he had the worst training camp of his life for this fight:
"No, I don't at all, because what do you guys want...you want the same textbook answers every time? That's what you're gonna get. You're gonna get like ‘Oh, well I had the best camp ever, best shape of my life, no injuries. But afterwards, all they do is make complaints and comments about ‘Oh, well my foot was hurt, or my back, and I had the flu, I got staph, I was on medication."
On how he is currently putting the title fight with Anthony Pettis aside:
"I'm over it! I really am. I mean, honestly, if he's not ready to fight after this fight, I'll fight somebody else."
UFC on FOX Interviews
Both fighters shared their final thoughts directly after the weigh in, with "Bendo" in the hot seat as he was interviewed by the UFC on FOX panel -- which included Karyn Bryant, Brian Stann, Daniel Cormier and someone he is all too familiar with, Anthony Pettis.
On how important it is to him to get a rematch with Pettis:
"We'll be dancing once again, that's for sure. I'm gonna work my butt off to make sure that happens."
On what the game plan is for Thomson, and what he prepared for in camp:
"For this time, going against Josh, because he's such a veteran, he's seen everything. He's been fighting forever now. He's not only fought a who's who of people inside the cage, but he's trained with a who's who. There's not going to be anything that surprises him. He's not going to be surprised [by] a new kick this, a new punch that. He's seen everything. So the idea is just to go in there, keep him on his heels, keep him guessing. To mix it up, to keep him guessing as to what's going to come next. 'Oh, is it going to be a punch, is it going to be a kick, is it going to be a takedown? I don't know what's coming next.' That's the idea when we face off against Josh."
On if he has the same feelings when he lost to Pettis in the WEC and took the world by storm when he entered the UFC:
"Ah, so to speak. A little bit of that same feeling. Anytime you come off a loss it doesn't feel good, so you get a little bit more extra motivation so to speak. You just want to go in there and get your hand raised. I'm exited to get a chance to go do that tomorrow night."
On the other side of things, Megan Olivi had a chance to catch a few last words from Thomson in an interview backstage.
On what has been different this time around in his camp?
"You know, it was just a long camp. I was trying to put it into perspective right now: the NFL season starts October or September second, but I started my camp October fifth. I'm one week away from the Super Bowl. That puts it in perspective how long this camp has been. I went though a whole NFL season. That's a long time."
On why he believes Henderson is a more difficult opponent that Pettis:
"I think stylistically, he's like a GSP. He takes the fight anywhere. With Pettis you really don't have to worry about him taking you down unless you get him in trouble -- then he'll try to shoot, try and lock you up, that type of thing. But, ya' know, Benson is a more well-rounded fighter. Those are the things you have to worry about. You have to prepare for every single thing. Whereas when you're fighting guys that are more one-dimensional, there's ways to exploit their game. You can just train for that one way."
On if he can clear up the rumors concerning his future:
"There's really nothing to clear up. I'm taking it one fight at a time."
There you have it.
MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC on FOX 10 fight card tonight, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" match online, which is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. ET, right on through the FOX Sports 1-televised under card bouts at 5 p.m. ET and then main card FOX action, which is slated to begin at 8 p.m. ET.
Enjoy the fights!