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Former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson seems pretty happy these days in Bellator. At 35, he’s still focused on trying to win another belt. The UFC belt he once owned has faced a lot of drama since he departed, mostly due to the advent of one Conor McGregor and the now-infamous rivalry with Khabib Nurmagomedov that ensued. That has held up the division, overshadowing the work of legitimate contenders such as Tony Ferguson. Ferguson has won 11 fights straight, but was arbitrarily stripped of his interim title after a freak accident, much to the detriment of his mental health. Dustin Poirier, who also richly deserved a title shot, finally earned interim gold by beating Anthony Pettis, Justin Gaethje, Eddie Alvarez and Max Holloway. While Poirier took advantage of a lucky break in the vagaries of UFC politics, Henderson is glad he’s no longer a part of a world where promotional antics are often valued over in-cage accomplishment. Via MMAFighting.com:
“I thank the Lord I don’t have to deal with that part of the job,” Henderson answered, “And I never really dealt with it in the first place, I wasn’t one of those guys that was like, ‘Aw, I gotta deal with this.’ But whatever, it’s like water off a duck’s back. It’s no big deal.
“But man, when you’re on a six-fight, seven-fight win streak and you can’t get a title shot call, or it just doesn’t go your way. There’s a bunch of stuff, but it’s just like the politics of it, you’re not known for what you do inside the cage. You’re more known for what you do outside the cage. That very much irks me, because I’m pretty boring outside the cage. I’m a blue collar, I go to work, I bust my ass in the gym, but I’m not somebody who’s going to say something outlandish just for the sake of getting a few more Twitter followers or I’m not gonna pose naked for more Instagram followers. I’m not one of those guys that says something stupid just for the sake of getting more attention.”
I’m not sure who, if anyone, asked Ben Henderson to get naked on Instagram for followers, but now you know: that’s not his style. “Smooth” is more known for his belief that he can do all things through Christ. It is almost impossible to imagine Henderson slapping a fan’s phone from his hand and stomping on it, or bragging about his whiskey sales. He also has other well-founded criticisms of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, such as their sponsorship deal with Reebok that unilaterally collapsed the sponsorship markets, taking tens out thousands of independent sponsorship dollars from fighter’s pockets.
Henderson came up short in his first Bellator title fight against Michael Chandler, but he’s still intent on climbing back to the top of that mountain. He sees this weekend’s Bellator 220 scrap with Adam Piccoloti as his path there. As his Twitter name proclaims, he is the Once and Future King. (An odd context to reference a book about Merlin, the time-traveling wizard, but it does have a certain ring to it)
“I think at this point, he’s the biggest fight of my life,” Henderson said of Piccolotti. “He’s what matters, whether I get another title shot. That’s really all I care about.
“I want to get that Bellator belt. I need, I will get that Bellator belt around my waist, and he is the biggest fight to determine that. So I need to go out there, I need to go beat him up, make a statement, and make a big deal, and do whatever it takes to get that shot, to get the belt around my waist.”
Bellator 220, the best card Bellator has put on in months, is headlined by Rory Macdonald vs. Jon Fitch for the welterweight title.
John Lineker is also fighting this weekend, bless the MMA gods
Michael Chandler works his own body shots
Alex Volkanovski echoes Dan Hooker’s desire to ‘just let me bang, bro’, a reference to the Ultimate moment of fragile masculinity.
Anthony Rocco Martin has some solid advice for upcoming fighters. Johnny Walker comes to mind- no one remembers his relatively recent KO losses because they weren’t in the UFC.
My biggest advice to any upcoming fighter. Don’t rush into getting signed by a big organization unless they plan to help build you. Fastest way to devalue your stock is rushing your career. It’s better to lose on regional scene then in the ufc. Crazy but true
— Anthony Rocco Martin (@TonyRoccoMartin) April 24, 2019
Mike Perry is hungry and now I’m hungry. Thanks a lot Mike.
Georges St. Pierre might be the healthiest superstar ever. He parties, but he also just spends his days and riches training and learning gymnastics. It’s a fascinating contrast with Conor McGregor or BJ Penn or Jon Jones or many others who have lost their way at times.
I’ve shared this one before, but the classics never go out of style.
American Kickboxing Academy coach Javier Mendez went to the rugged land of Dagestan with Khabib Nurmagomedov
Roxanne Modafferi takes inspiration from My Hero Academia because of course she does.
“I smile to show the pressure of heroes and to trick the fear inside me.” – All Might , “My Hero Academia” https://t.co/UJjbis9iQU
— Roxanne Modafferi (@Roxyfighter) April 24, 2019
Sleep well, Maniacs! A better tomorrow is always possible. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook @Vorpality