WEC lightweight champion Benson “Smooth” Henderson will be making the second and final defense of his 155-pound strap tonight in the main event of WEC 53, against Anthony Pettis. The winner of tonight’s bout will then get the next shot at the current UFC lightweight champion, in a bout to unify the two belts. Speaking with ULT MMA recently, Henderson explained why, if he wins, he is prepared for the big stage and the bright lights; Henderson also gave his prediction for the upcoming UFC lightweight title fight between Gray Maynard and champion Frankie Edgar.
“No, not really,” Henderson said when asked if he feels pressure at the idea of joining the UFC’s lightweight ranks. “It’s just the next step in your career. …Hopefully in your career, every step you take–the next step, the next fight–is a bigger fight, a bigger step, more challenges, more pressure, more fans watching you, more media paying attention to you, more interviews, …that’s what you want. That’s what you want in your career, so I don’t feel any overwhelming pressure.”
Henderson has picked against Edgar in his last two fights, both against BJ Penn, and he isn’t changing his tune this time, though he is wary of picking against “The Answer” for how many times he’s already been proven wrong.
“It’ll be a good fight. It’s hard to say anything, to not pick Frankie Edgar because he’s proven so many guys wrong already,” said Henderson. “Everybody thought he was going to lose against BJ the first time, I picked BJ by homicide in the rematch. He’s been proving guys wrong. I think that says a lot about Frankie, you can’t doubt him. That being said, Gray is tough as heck and he already has a win over him. I think I might have to pick Gray, but it’s just a tough fight. It’ll be a very exciting, tough fight.”
Henderson and Pettis will meet tonight at the Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Arizona, on what will be the last fight card bearing the WEC brand. Edgar and Maynard will face off this January 1st at UFC 125: Revolution, which is going down at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.