The stage has been set for Benson Henderson to prove that he’s worthy of sharing the same octagon with Frankie Edgar in the main event at UFC 144 Japan. A victory come fight night will gain him the respect of not only his peers, but also the MMA world in general.
The former WEC lightweight champion was on a 10-fight tear before Anthony Pettis usurped said title, thus putting a brief halt to his present ascension to the rank of No. 2 pound-for-pound fighter in the 155-lb. division.
At present, his tenure in the Zuffa-based hierarchy has been a success—three wins via unanimous decision against Mark Bocek, Jim Miller and Clay Guida.
In Edgar, the 28-year-old “Smooth” will face his toughest test to date. However, Henderson possesses impressive striking attributes coupled with an admirable submission pedigree—skill sets which are a prerequisite if he’s to leave the Saitama Arena as the newly crowned king of the lightweights.
There are several fighters on the card who have the opportunity to prove their worth to themselves, the UFC and the fans, and thus gain a lot in the process. However, no one stands to gain more than Henderson if he captures UFC gold.
For one, he’ll automatically supplant “The Answer” as the assemblage’s No. 1 fighter, thus catapulting him to the status of top 10 pound-for-pound combatant in the MMA stratosphere.
If and when negotiations for renewal of contracts begin, his championship status will be the bargain tool for an increment in his wages.
Finally, with the belt strapped around his waist Henderson will be in prime position to keep his aspirations alive of one day surpassing Anderson Silva’s records for consecutive wins and title defenses.
UFC 144 is scheduled for Feb. 25, 2012, at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
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