Bellator 243: Benson Henderson Looking to Keep Pressure On in Chandler Rematch

Former UFC champion looks for revenge against Michael Chandler this Friday.

In 2016 two lightweight greats met for the first time. Bellator’s Michael Chandler, a multi-time 155lb champ in the promotion, met Benson Henderson, the former UFC lightweight champ. It’s a fight which ended in split decision. Not one in favor of “Smooth.” Fast forward to 2020 and we have the rematch set. One man looking to avenge the loss, the other looking to further his legacy. Henderson is glad to be back working, fighting and moving towards his goal.

“No one likes not working. No adult likes not working, not staying busy” Henderson told Cageside Press at the Bellator 243 media day. “This was the longest layoff of my career. I’ve never had fights so far apart. I’m definitely excited to get back in there.”

Henderson owns his own gym, so training was not a problem during the heart of the pandemic. He believes his team and training partners are the best in the world. When it comes to four years, a lot can change, so how different is Chandler four years later?

“You defintiely learn some things when you face a guy for twenty-five minutes,” Henderson explained. “We took notes, we broke down the [fight video], and we are going to apply them to this next fight.”

Henderson has been written off by many at points. Yet the 36 year old fighter is currently on a four fight win streak. Continuing to prove his prime is still upon us. Henderson is expecting a different opening round compared to fight one in 2016.

“I plan on doing the exact opposite [from 2016]. Starting out gangbusters, and also continuing to take him out to deep waters,” proclaimed Henderson. “Having that big first round, then also continuing in the second round and third round, pouring it on even more.”

In the end, Benson Henderson expects that avenging his loss to Chandler will turn into a title shot. Lightweight champion Patricio Pitbull is currently busy fighting at 145lbs in the Featherweight Grand Prix as a double champion. It is unclear against who, or when, the title fight could occur, but Henderson thinks it’ll happen.

“I think Bellator has said it officially, the winner [of Chandler vs. Henderson 2] gets a title shot next,” Henderson said. But, he’s well aware of the other factors at play. “Patricio has the belt right now, and he has two or three fights left in the grand prix. I have no idea when he’ll fight or when he’ll be able to defend the belt again. So who knows.”

Henderson is one of only four fighters to defeat the current lightweight and featherweight champion of the world. But for now, his focus is on Friday, where Henderson looks to avenge his loss to Michael Chandler — a rematch four years in the making.

Bellator 243 airs live this Friday, August 7 on Paramount Network and DAZN.