Since losing his briefly held WEC lightweight title to Anthony Pettis on the WEC’s final fight card this past December, Benson “Smooth” Henderson has gone on a roll.
True, he’s only fought twice since then, but Henderson’s performances have spoken volumes about his mindset and where he’s at skill-wise compared to where he was when he faced Showtime. Once the UFC absorbed the WEC, the 27-year-old made his UFC debut at UFC 129 this past April, where he took out the underrated and very tough Mark Bocek via convincing unanimous decision. That was a good fight to get Smooth back in the win column, but his next and most recent performance showed that Henderson is a fighter ready to make waves at 155lbs. in the UFC.
Whereas Pettis was defeated when he met one of the UFC’s best in Clay Guida, Henderson absolutely rose to the challenge when he was matched against the consensus number one lightweight contender (behind Gray Maynard) Jim Miller. Miller’s only career losses were to Maynard and current champ Frankie Edgar when he met Henderson and he was considered a shoo-in for the next title shot behind Maynard. Having different plans in mind, Smooth completely dominated Miller over three rounds, earning a surprising unanimous decision.
That victory went a long way to improve Henderson’s position in the division, as he’s now cemented his place on the list of lightweight contenders, which is gradually paring down. Speaking with Inside MMA recently, Henderson gave some insight into his current mindset, which is essentially that he’ll fight anyone in the division if given enough time to prepare.
“To be honest, my manager, Malki Kawa, my coach, John Crouch, they’re the ones who pay more attention to who it might be and interesting match-ups and placing the time frame,” Henderson said of his fights. “‘Oh, we want to fight this time.’ So that when Gray (Maynard) and Frankie (Edgar) finally fight, we’ll be able to fight the winner of that in the right time frame. I don’t really care, I just say ‘Hey, match me up, give me a good eight week training camp and I’m ready to go, whoever you guys want.'”