Henderson vs. Edgar 2: What a Win Means for Benson Henderson
Benson "Smooth" Henderson has the chance to build a legacy tonight at UFC 150.
One win, one chance at glory. Win and it is yours, lose and it is back to the drawing board.
Tonight's matchup with Frankie Edgar is undoubtedly the biggest fight of Henderson's career and a loss would be devastating, while a victory would catapult him into talks of the greatest UFC lightweight of all time.
The UFC's lightweight division is as deep as ever, and being able to own and defend the belt is an accomplishment to be proud of.
Henderson has the chance to do that, but more importantly, he has the chance to do it against Edgar, a former champ who excels in rematches.
If Henderson decisively beats Edgar in the rematch, it proves that he is evolving as a fighter and can handle who has proven to be the most dominant lightweight champion in recent years.
As I mentioned, the UFC lightweight division is stacked now and was similarly loaded during Edgar's reign, so holding and defending the belt is as impressive as ever inside this weight class.
A win over Edgar proves that Henderson is the best lightweight in the world and talks can end about any controversy surrounding their first matchup. He won then, and he won again. Now we move along.
This, though, is pretty obvious. If the champion defends the belt, of course it proves he is the best. Of course it proves that he is top dog.
Will UFC 150 go down as the biggest fight of Bendo's life?
What does a win mean for Henderson outside of these immediate consequences?
First, it means that Frankie Edgar is probably moving to featherweight. If Henderson wins tonight, there is a good chance that Edgar will move to the 145-pound division, something Dana White and the fans already want to see happen anyway.
Also, a win means that the biggest challenge is yet to come. With great power comes great responsibility, and there is arguably no tougher division than lightweight in which to hold Henderson's responsibility as champion.
Henderson has mentioned wanting to fight and defeat everyone in the division to prove he is the greatest of all time, and a win over Edgar is the first step to achieving this bold claim.
Nate Diaz awaits in the immediate future, but also awaiting a title shot are Gray Maynard, Anthony Pettis, Donald Cerrone...the list goes on and on in the 155-pound division.
A win over Edgar is huge for Henderson's career and it would no doubt be the greatest accomplishment to date for the lightweight champion, but it also opens a door that will be very difficult to close.
A win means he is the best, and there are plenty of vicious dudes who will disagree with that claim. The problem for Henderson is that they will have the chance to prove their legitimacy and he will be held to his word as he is submerged in the fight of his life.
It may feel good to be at the top of the mountain with a victory tonight, but this win, more than anything, means that Henderson now has the biggest challenge of all ahead of him: he has to stay there.
If he defends the belt even once or twice after defeating Edgar tonight, Henderson will immediately be talked about as the greatest UFC lightweight of all time and he will have earned that distinction.
Tonight is the first step to constructing this legacy. To say that this is the biggest fight of his career is no joke and I feel it will be even bigger than defending it again.
If he loses tonight, he is not getting a rematch and he will have to claw through an ever-improving lightweight division—a task he may not be able to accomplish.
With a victory tonight, Henderson forges the easiest path to becoming the greatest lightweight of all time.
No pressure, big guy.
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