UFC 164’s Henderson: Although Rematch With Pettis “Just Another Title Defense”, Champ’s Been “Waiting to Get my Hands on Him”
By Kelsey Mowatt
As a glance at Benson Henderson’s record vividly demonstrates, the lightweight had little difficulty rebounding from his memorable decision loss to Anthony Pettis in 2010, as he’s gone on to win seven straight fights and secure the UFC championship. Since “Showtime” is the last man to defeat Henderson, however, and is coming off KO wins over Joe Lauzon and Donald Cerrone, there seems to be considerable buzz about their UFC 164 rematch. So, all things considered, does Henderson view Saturday’s tilt with Pettis as any different than previous title defenses yet? Apparently not.
“No, not really,” Henderson said on a recent medial call, when asked if his rematch with Pettis stands out. “I guess it’s the same. Obviously it’s a little bigger because I’ve only lost once in the last seven years, and it happened to be against Anthony, so of course you want to get the loss back, but if you lose, you lose. You have to man up and move on.”
The loss to Pettis not only was Henderson’s sole defeat since March, 2007, but it also ended his run as WEC champion.
“It will be nice to go out there with him again and get my hands on him,” Henderson added. “I’ve been waiting to get my hands on him, that’s for sure, but it’s just another fight….it’s just another title defense. There is always going to be new circumstances to fight, there’s always going to be different faces, first time in UFC, first time on pay-per-view, first time main event, first time main card, first time this, first time that, so you’re going to have different circumstances every time you fight. That being said, you have to treat every fight like it’s the most important thing there is.”
Circumstances can change particularly in rematches, as not only do fighters typically improve their abilities over time, but they attempt to make adjustments based off what transpired in the first tilt. Case in point, Henderson had difficulties taking Pettis to the ground at WEC 53, and most observers believe the champion’s ability to take the challenger down is key to a victory.
“It’s something you have to continually work on,” said Henderson, while discussing his wrestling and how he hopes to have more success versus Pettis in the rematch. “You always try to get better, not just with your takedowns, your takedown set-ups, if not your first initial takedown, your second attempt, your third shot, your reshot. It’s all just stuff that everyday you try to get better.”
Since Henderson faced Pettis in 2010, the 29 year old’s grappling skills have played an integral role in all of his victories, whether he was using them in an offensive or defensive manner.
“Improve your takedowns, improve your hands, your kicks, everything,” Henderson furthered. “It’s something I’ve been working on a lot since that fight, in the five, six, seven fights I’ve had since then, and I’m going to go out there and go do what I did in those seven fights since. I’m going to try to do the same thing in this fight.”
UFC 164 will be hosted by the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee and the main card will be broadcast via pay-per-view.