With two of the top lightweights in the sport main eventing Saturday night in Boston, you would expect WEC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson to be keeping a close eye on the proceedings.
The 26-year-old Henderson is in town for appearances with Dethrone, Everlast, and the WEC at the UFC Fan Expo which kicks off Friday at the Hynes Convention Center.
I caught up with Henderson at the ActionFight.com MMA Symposium which featured Henderson on a panel with UFC VP of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner, UFC Canada Director of Operation Tom Wright, Massachusetts Athletic Commission Chair LaTeisha Adams and judge Sal D'Amato.
Henderson talked about potentially fighting in his hometown, Anthony Pettis, and whether he hopes the UFC will absorb the WEC's 155-pound division.
Have you been to Boston before?
I've been to Boston once before for Kenny Florian's training camp against Clay Guida. They brought me in to beat me up for eight days and send me on my way.
What do you think of the city?
I love the architecture and history of all the buildings. Boston's been around a lot longer than my hometown. I love the brick and the feel and the people have all been super cool. I've got nothing bad to say. I like it a lot actually.
Will you be on the WEC's debut in Phoenix on December 16th?
Most likely I'll be fighting on that card, but I haven't signed any papers yet. I don't like saying I'm sure until I sign papers I don't know who the opponent will be and all that, but most likely yeah, I'll be fighting in Phoenix.
So assuming you would be on the card, what would that feel like to fight in front of your home fans?
It would be awesome. I'd absolutely love it. I've only been a home crowd favorite one time in my career before and I loved it. Having people actually cheer for me and want to win instead of not wanting to win is pretty cool.
If Anthony Pettis ends up being your opponent, what do you think?
If it ended up being Anthony Pettis, I'd be excited for it. He likes to put on a good show, I like to put on a good show. If we fight, you better bring your popcorn. You can't watch a show without popcorn.
There's been talk about merging the UFC and WEC 155-weight class together. Would you be in favor of that?
My dream from the very beginning has been to be the best fighter on the planet, period. Not that I don't care about what organization I'm in, but I just want to be the best fighter. No matter where I need to go and whoever I need to fight to get that done, sign me up.
BJ or Frankie on Saturday?
(laughing) BJ by homicide. I think that it's going to be the BJ we're used to seeing. No offense to Frankie. I've never met him personally, but I'm sure he's a great guy and great fighter, but BJ is going to be coming with a vengeance and win by homicide.
So first round homicide? Second round?
Frankie's a tough, tough guy and a great fighter. It won't end in the first or second round. If anything, it will be in the third or fourth round after wearing him down, taking his back and choking him out—typical BJ Penn.
Randy or James Toney?
Randy Couture by complete embarrassment. He's going to show him why it wasn't a good idea to try this MMA thing.
Josh Nason is a New England-based freelance MMA journalist that is covering UFC 118 for Bleacher Report all week long in Boston- including live blogging the event itself live. Follow him on Twitter, will ya?