Former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson gets his second chance at Bellator gold this weekend as he gets a crack at reigning 155lb champion Michael Chandler at Bellator 165.
After failing to win the Bellator welterweight championship against Andrey Koreshkov on his promotional debut this past April, ‘Benson’ gets another chance to become a champion, this time at a weight class he’s much more familiar with.
Heading into this championship contest, the 33-year-old veteran isn’t necessarily done jumping weight classes, it just depends on where the most interesting fights are.
“I wouldn’t say that I think of myself as a lightweight necessarily,” says Henderson. “For me, it’s 155lb or 170lb, just wherever the more interesting and fun matchups are. But, first things first, I have to take care of business on Saturday night. I’m going to go get this belt at 155lb.”
For Chandler, this is an opportunity to prove himself against one of the best lightweights ever – even though he believes the timing could not be worse for the challenger.
He says: “Every opponent is important. Every single time we fight, we’re putting ourselves, our livelihood, our records, and our reputation on the line. It just so happens for me; I get an opportunity to fight a guy who’s been a champion and has done some great things in the sport.
“But luckily, it’s the right time for me and the wrong time for him. I’m extremely excited to go out there and make a statement with this fight on Saturday night. He’s definitely a great, willing opponent, but I’m excited to go out there and get the finish.”
With Henderson and others making the jump over to Bellator from the UFC, it’s finally allowed fans to see how much night and day exists between the two rosters. This Saturday night’s main event between Chandler and Henderson will be yet another example and the current 155lb champion is looking forward to the litmus test.
“Benson’s had a phenomenal career,” Chandler adds. “Back in the day, he was the UFC champion and I was the Bellator champion. He was ranked number one and I was ranked number three in the world and it was always that ‘what if’ matchup. What if these two guys could fight… and now we finally get to see but I’ll be damned if I’m going to step into that cage on Saturday night and lose this belt.
“I’ve trained my tail off. I’ve gone through some of the toughest hardships that anyone can go through in this sport. Losing three fights in a row, coming back, and believing that no matter what, my next big breakthrough is right around the corner. I never once thought about quitting, where I think a lot of people in that situation would.
“Where I’ve been and where I am now, I’m confident and I’m excited to just go out there and put it all on the line against one of the best in the world and one of the biggest names in the sport.”