As 2011 began Ben Henderson was little more than a lightweight trying to secure his place on the Zuffa roster after losing his final fight in WEC before the organization was absorbed by the UFC. Now, eleven months filled with “Bendo” taking out top contenders and seeing other 155ers above him on the contendership ladder fall have led to February 26, 2012 where the 28-year old will face divisional champion Frankie Edgar in headlining action at UFC 144.
The 15-2 Henderson’s meteoric rise from relative obscurity to legitimate title threat hasn’t been lost on Edgar who understands what type of challenge he’s in for rather than sees his scheduled opponent as being an inferior competitor who lucked his way into a go at gold.
Edgar shined some light on his opinion of Henderson in a press conference related to UFC 144 where the 14-1-1 champ showed nothing but respect for his adversary.
“He’s been on a tear since he came over from the WEC. He’s beat all the top contenders, so he’s more deserving of a title shot. He’s real exciting,” Edgar explained while alluding to Henderson’s wins over Jim Miller and Clay Guida, both of whom were in line for an opportunity to fight for the belt had they beaten Henderson.
Based on those performances, as well as some intangibles, Edgar put it plainly as far as what he expects to see in the ring at UFC 144.
“He’s young and hungry, so I know I‘ve got my hands full.”
Edgar vs. Henderson is only one of the many marvelous match-ups set for Japan with others including Quinton Jackson vs. Ryan Bader, Anthony Pettis vs. Joe Lauzon, and Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Jake Shields.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC