Former WEC lightweight champion Benson “Smooth” Henderson lost his belt to Anthony Pettis last night in the main event of WEC 53, though he certainly made “Showtime” work for it.
The bout was fairly even heading into the final round and it was Pettis who stole the show and the belt by delivering an off-the-fence head kick that dropped Henderson and sealed the victory. Speaking during the post-fight press conference, a very emotional Henderson addressed the game-changing moment and discussed how he plans to rebound from the upsetting loss. (Props to MMAJunkie)
“I saw it in Mortal Kombat once,” Henderson joked when asked if he had seen the inventive kick before.
“Smooth” pointed to technical mistakes and an inability to adapt to Pettis’ speed as the reasons for his loss.
“I was talking it over a little bit with my coaches – why I lost and what I need to do better,” Henderson said. “My jab. Stepping to the inside when I need to step to the outside. [Pettis] was a little bit quicker to the punch than me. He did a good job setting up some of his kicks. I checked some of his kicks, but all the wrong things I did, what do I need to do better to get my hand raised?”
Prior to the loss, Henderson had strung together a ten-fight winning streak including a victory over Donald Cerrone to capture the WEC interim lightweight championship, a win over Jamie Varner to capture the undisputed championship and another win over Cerrone to defend the belt. After this, the second loss in his career, Henderson pledged to find out why he lost and to shore up the holes in his game so that he may come back stronger.
“There’s a lot of things that go into a fight,” Henderson said. “It’s not just two guys who go out there punching and kicking and stuff. There’s a science behind it, and I’m going to figure it out, and I will get my hand raised next time.”
“Smooth” fell to 12-2 with the loss, but will have his shot at redemption under the bright lights of the UFC’s stage, where a fighter of his caliber belongs.