Ben Henderson down to face Rustam Khabilov next, only UFC Lightweight who currently 'makes sense'


Ben Henderson squeaked by Josh Thomson via split decision at UFC on FOX 10 earlier this year. With a title shot not on the immediate horizon thanks to Gilbert Melendez fighting Lightweight champion Anthony Pettis next, "Smooth" reveals he would be open to a fight with Rustam Khabilov just to keep busy in the Octagon.

No case of mistaken identity this time it seems.

Ben Henderson takes quite a bit of heat for the way he scores Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) victories, most recently doing so in a heavily criticized decision win over Josh Thomson at UFC on FOX 10 back in late Jan. 2014.

But, in a move that may surprise some mixed martial arts (MMA) critics, Henderson recently informed "UFC Tonight" that he would take a high-risk, low-reward fight against Rustam Khabilov, preferably in May 2014, if it was offered.

The "Smooth" statement comes on the heels of Gilbert Melendez re-signing with the promotion and subsequently being inserted into a bout against current Lightweight champion, Anthony Pettis, following the taping of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 20.

Not like company president Dana White was going to offer Henderson the opportunity to reclaim his 155-pound title anytime soon, anyway. He's just not a finisher!

Nonetheless, some fans might scratch their heads at the former World Extreme Cagefighting's (WEC) indifference to fight Khabilov based on their current rankings -- Henderson currently sits atop the latest official UFC rankings, while Khabilov comes in at No. 14.

What's more, Khabilov is no slouch -- he is perfect in three trips to the Octagon since his promotional debut in Dec. 2012. In fact, his only professional loss came against Ruslan Khaskhanov in a close split decision while competing on the international circuit by way of M-1 Global in early 2011.

Time will tell if the match actually comes to fruition, with the rest of the top contenders either busy, injured and/or too familiar. Perhaps Henderson's surprising decision, along with an impressive performance, will earn him a spot at the cool kids table once and for all.

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