Don't call Henderson 'Champ'

Benson Henderson (left) punches Frankie Edgar during their most recent encounter at UFC 144. (Getty...

Benson Henderson (left) punches Frankie Edgar during their most recent encounter at UFC 144. (Getty Images file photo)

NEIL SPRINGER, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:10 PM ET

TORONTO - He cant quite put his finger on why, but Benson Henderson doesnt enjoy being called the champ.

Ive never actually liked people calling me the champ, Henderson said over the phone. I believe I definitely will miss it one day when Im not the champion. As for right now, Im not a real big fan of that, I suppose you can say.

Im not sure. I cant quite put my finger on it. Im just not a real big fan of it. Its not like I get mad at people say it or anything like that. I just cant exactly put my finger on it. Im not the biggest fan of people being like, Hey, whats up, champ? or anything like that.

Perhaps the term represents goals met, as opposed to objectives yet to be achieved, and Henderson rejects it as an affront to complacency. Or he simply finds it tacky.

Either way, the current UFC lightweight kingpin and former WEC 155-pound titleholder certainly knows what it means to fight like a champion. With a 16-2 record, Henderson is undefeated since joining the UFC roster in early 2011.

Hes also expressed his desire to surpass middleweight champ Anderson Silva in successful title defences by the time his career comes to an end.

But Henderson admits its more about the journey to the top than the destination itself.

As far as having those lofty goals and having that many title defences to me, its more about getting there, Henderson said. The hard work, the dedication it takes to get to that point, to be on that level.

Henderson gets the opportunity to notch his first title defence when he rematches former champion Frankie Edgar in the main event of UFC 150 in Denver on Saturday. The card will be co-headlined by a 155-pound scrap between Melvin Guillard and Donald Cerrone.

Henderson dethroned Edgar via unanimous decision in one of the best fights of the year at UFC 144 in February. Following the bout, UFC president Dana White pressured Edgar to move down to featherweight, but the New Jersey native held out for an opportunity to regain the lightweight strap.

With the two fighters poised to do battle again, White announced Henderson would not be eligible for an immediate rematch should he lose the title. Whoever wins Saturday will meet Nate Diaz some time down the road.

Since the lightweight division has been stuck in a perpetual cycle of immediate rematches, Henderson doesnt feel Whites decision is unfair.

Its a pretty decent position from where Im sitting, Henderson said. Im defending my world title. Thats not a bad position to be in. You wake up, you have a world title and youve got to defend it. Thats a good position to be in. Ill gladly take that.

Though Henderson dealt significant damage in their first encounter and won the bout handily with scores of 49-46, 49-46 and 48-47, he knows Edgar always ups his game in rematches.

Edgars first bout with B.J. Penn was close, but the second was completely one-sided. His first professional loss came at the hands of Gray Maynard in 2008. When the two fought three years later, Edgar fought him to a draw. The third encounter saw him put Maynard away with punches in the fourth round.

Henderson knows hes in for yet another difficult fight.

Frankies a tough fighter and we all know hes a lot better in rematches, Henderson said. Its one of his biggest things. His coaches are great and they always put together a great game plan for rematches and finding weaknesses and holes in their previous opponent.

Despite Edgars penchant for rematches, Henderson isnt about to waste energy worrying about what Edgar might bring to the table this time around.

Youve got to be focused on yourself, Henderson began. You cant be too concerned about what the other guy is going to do. Hes going to do what hes going to do.

Obviously if the guy has a big head-kick knockout, you have to be aware of that. But for the most part, Im going to focus on what Im going to do and how Im going to get the W, not what Frankie is going to do.


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