At UFC on Fox 10, at the United Center in Chicago on Saturday, Benson Henderson will attempt to defeat a game opponent in Josh Thomson and solidify himself as the lightweight division’s No. 1 contender.
Thomson earned the right to face Henderson after his crushing knockout defeat over Nick Diaz at UFC on Fox 7. The win was so impressive that it caught the eye of UFC president Dana White.
In fact, according to Matt Erickson of MMA Junkie, at a media event in Chicago, White confirmed that Thomson would be granted a title shot upon his win at UFC on Fox 10. The UFC president exclaimed, “Here’s the reality: If Thomson wins, he’s the next in line (for a title shot)."
However, despite his most recent loss and relinquishing of the lightweight belt, Henderson has plans to remain the No. 1 contender and ultimately defeat the champion who has bested him twice in their last two outings—Anthony Pettis. Henderson has made a career out of remaining elusive in the Octagon and has outworked many of his foes in the area of grappling.
The latter has led Henderson on a 7-1 run in his past eight fights and represents his keys to victory at UFC on Fox 10.
The Stand-Up: Elusiveness
Henderson is an intelligent fighter. He has sustained little damage throughout his career. The Washington native is able to dole out a barrage of blows to his opponents and swiftly retreat before being struck.
His footwork and speed are perplexing to many of his adversaries. In that, the former champion has never been knocked out and has only lost one bout by decision.
Grappling: Wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Henderson is a former two-time NCIA All-American wrestler and a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. He has the ability to take down his opponents and submit them on the ground. In fact, according to UFC.com, Henderson boasts a 51 percent takedown rate and has submitted almost half of his foes en route to victory.
Although Henderson is able to grapple at the highest levels, he has, on occasion, carelessly left himself open to elementary submission attempts. The 30-year-old has fought out of many submission holds and has only lost twice in this fashion. At the same time, one of the bouts (UFC 164) in which Henderson lost via armbar cost him the UFC lightweight title.
However, the former champion remains undeterred in his resolve to face the champion for a third time. At a media event promoting UFC on Fox 10, according to the Associated Press (h/t Newsday), Henderson stated:
Every guy UFC would give a title shot to, send them my way. I'll go down the entire list of the top 10. I will beat everybody. Let's do that. When he (Pettis) is healthy, when he does come back then I'll be waiting.
Overall, the former champion is well-rounded and experienced, and he sports a respectable record of 19-3. At UFC on Fox 10, Henderson will square off against the former Strikeforce lightweight champion in Thomson and attempt to defeat all comers thereafter to earn his way to a shot at Pettis and another world title.