Frankie Edgar and Ben Henderson will be doing battle later this month in the main event of UFC 144, the first UFC event under Zuffa guidance that will take place in Japan and the first time that the show has returned to the Land of the Rising Sun since 2000.
For Edgar, fighting in Japan is another opportunity to display his fighting spirit for a foreign culture, and one that he particularly respects.
“I’m obviously super excited to fight over in Japan, the birthplace of martial arts,” said Edgar. “It’s ingrained in their culture, they’re huge fans. I think they’re going to appreciate the show we put on. It’s similar to going to Abu Dhabi, little bit more of a time difference but I’m gonna approach it somewhat the same. It’s not my first go-around, so I feel like I’ve got some experience on that end.
“First time under the Zuffa banner that the UFC’s gonna be there. I got to fight in Abu Dhabi for the first time with Zuffa, so I almost feel like I’m an ambassador for the sport. It’s cool to go into different cultures and different countries and showcase my skills for them.”
Things are a little different for Henderson. Though he is looking forward to competing in Japan, the Smooth one is more excited to be fighting in the main event and getting the exposure he feels he deserves, as opposed to his last outing, which ran dark on Facebook under the UFC’s first main event on Fox.
“I’m very excited to be the main event. My last fight I was kinda put on the back burner,” said Henderson. “Even though I thought it was gonna be an exciting fight — a lot of people thought it was gonna be an exciting fight. It is what it is. It’s up to the higher ups to decide who’s gonna be on the main card, main event as far as airing on Fox and stuff and to have my fight not air, it was a little upsetting to myself. So, it’s nice to be in the main event. No big guys in front of us. Heavyweights always get to steal the show. It’s nice not to be able to have the show be stolen because they weigh a hundred pounds more than me.”
UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson will take place on February 26 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.