Tomorrow night at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, former WEC lightweight champion Benson “Smooth” Henderson will participate in the biggest fight of his career.
Not only will he be challenging UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar for his title, the 28-year-old will be doing so at the site of the legendary Pride Fighting Championships, headlining the Zuffa-helmed UFC’s first fight card to take place in Japan.
A lifelong martial artist, Henderson revealed during fight week that he’s harbored intentions to fight in Japan even before he stepped inside a WEC cage for the first time. Though the experience is one he considers an honor, the Smooth one won’t be letting it steal his focus away from the fight.
“When I first heard about it — it’s funny, I was talking with my coach John Crouch and we were talking about before I even signed with the WEC, how I always said I wanted to fight in Japan one of these days,” said Henderson. “It’s funny how it’s happening now. But, like Ryan (Bader) said, it’s just a job. Happens to be Japan, so I am very pumped, I am very excited about that. When I first heard it was gonna be Japan I was stoked initially, right away. But, after that, you’ve gotta get over that and realize it’s just a fight, go out there and do your job.”
Henderson meets Edgar tomorrow night in the main event of UFC 144; FightLine will run live, ongoing coverage of the fights beginning with the prelims, so don’t forget to check back for that.