Henderson ready for resilient Edgar at UFC 144

JOSE RODRIGUEZ, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:32 PM ET

In a perfect world, UFC lightweight contender Benson Henderson would have spent the past few weeks eating kicks and punches from Canadian Mark Hominick.

"Yeah, I really wanted to have Mark come down to help me out for this fight," says Henderson, who will take on champ Frankie Edgar in the main event of UFC 144 in Japan next weekend.

"Frankie's a smaller 155er and Mark's a big 145er, so he would have been perfect to emulate Frankie's speed."

Henderson said scheduling conflicts and an already runaway training budget nixed his plans to have Hominick help him prep.

But the Colorado-born fighter said he's had a solid camp and he's ready for the powerful and resilient Edgar.

"Frankie's a tough guy. He's strong and has a great chin, but I've been training four times a day with an great group of trainers," says Henderson.

Henderson (15-2) rose to top-contender status following his decision victory over Clay Guida at UFC on FOX 1 in November.

It was Henderson's third straight win and the pair took fight of the night honours.

Henderson is no stranger to fight night bonuses, having won fight of the night and submission of the night honours during his World Extreme Cagefighting days and his war against Donald Cerrone at WEC 43 is considered by many the best fight of 2009.

But in Edgar, Henderson is fighting his toughest opponent.

The New Jersey native has back-to-back victories over the legendary B.J. Penn and is coming off a knockout title defence over Gray Maynard.

Edgar (14-1-1) has never been finished.

Both Henderson and Edgar are high-energy strikers with solid ground games, strength and speed.

Henderson has never fought outside North America.

Outside of his U.S. fights, he's had one scrap in Toronto -- a UFC 129 victory over Mark Bocek -- and a couple of fights for Edmonton's Maximum Fighting Championship early in his career.

But he said fighting on the other side of the planet hasn't had any effect on his prep or game plan.

"A fight's a fight. It can happen anywhere. I'm excited to fight in Japan, but it could be anywhere," said the 28-year-old.

UFC 144 marks the UFC's first time back in Japan in 11 years.

UFC 29 was the last card in the Land of the Rising Sun and it featured light-heavyweight champ Tito Ortiz and lightweight champ Pat Miletich. It was also the last UFC event to be held under the old owners before president Dana White and company bought the fight club and blasted it into mainstream popularity.

UFC 144 also features long-time Pride standout Quinton "Rampage" Jackson returning to his old stomping grounds to take on Ryan Bader, as well as Cheick Kongo fighting Mark Hunt and Yoshihiro Akiyama taking on Jake Shields.

jose.rodriguez@sunmedia.ca

twitter:@joser403

blog: www.canoe.ca/scrapyard


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