Benson Henderson was a little taken aback when informed that Michael Chandler vs. Brent Primus 2 was on again for the Bellator lightweight title.
New York, NY — Benson Henderson is back in the Bellator cage at Bellator 208 on Saturday night in Long Island. He’ll be taking on Saad Awad, a skilled, gritty home grown Bellator fighter who has flown under the radar for much of his career. Yet Henderson is expecting a fired up, motivated Awad come Saturday.
“Saturday night, I expect him to come out guns blazing, like he always does. He’s going to come out fired up,” Henderson said of his opponent at Bellator 208. “It’s a big card, big stage, big name opponent. Big opportunity for him to shine. He’s going to come out guns blazing, firing on all cylinders, and it’s my job to shut him down.”
‘Smooth’ was in the Big Apple for a good chunk of the week, and seemed to love the experience. “Every time I’ve been in New York, it’s always been a great, awesome experience. I love the people watching, I’m a people watcher,” Henderson told us. “I love having a cup of coffee, sitting down, I love the coffee shops, and being able to sit and just people watch.”
“The attitude of the East Coast people, the New York people, the tourists here is always something different, always catches me off guard.” That, he said, is “always a good time.”
After some early struggles in Bellator, Henderson got back in the win column in Hungary at Bellator 196 earlier this year. There, he picked up a much-needed win against Roger Huerta. “Hungary was awesome. Hungary was a beautiful country. I didn’t get to check it out as much as I wanted to,” he said about the experience. “For me, fight week, I’m getting down the weight, concentrating, getting mentally prepared to go out and do my thing. The parts of Hungary I was able to see were beautiful. I would definitely love to go back and experience the rest of that culture. Try some more of the Hungarian food.”
Still, “to go out there and get the win was awesome. I’m always after great performances.” Because with those, more often than not, things work themselves out. “Win or lose, I just want a great performance. My gym, the MMA Lab, would feel that if you’re having a great performance, wins and losses will take care of themselves. More than likely, you’ll have a lot more wins than you will losses if you have a great performance.”
“It was something I needed,” Henderson added about the win over Huerta.
The almost always laid back Henderson (his nickname is ‘Smooth,’ after all) was a little taken aback, however, when we broke the news to him that Michael Chandler vs. Brent Primus 2 was a go for the next lightweight title fight.
“Oh was it? When did they announce that?” Henderson asked when told of the development. And he wasn’t about to give a prediction, really. “Chandler— whatever. It is what it is. My opinion doesn’t matter.”
If the lightweight title isn’t in the immediate future for Henderson, who recently spoke of signing one more deal with the promotion, then perhaps 170lbs is still an option. “I wouldn’t mind going welterweight again. Making the weight at 70 for me is always nice,” said Henderson. “I like that. I think I need to be more prepared, so I need a good full five week, six week training camp to be ready, to prepare for my specific opponent. But short notice fights are nice too at 170.”
Though, as Henderdon noted with a laugh, some of the bigger, tougher, harder top three 170lbers would be a challenge. That said, “I’m down for those challenges. I like challenges. I love challenges, I love challenging myself, I love trying to see how good I can be.
“That’s what martial arts is about.”
Benson Henderson meets Saad Awad in the co-main event of Bellator 208 at the Nassau Coliseum on Saturday, October 13. The action airs live and free on The Paramount Network.