Bendo Focused and Ready Against Khabilov
Former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson steps inside the Octagon again on June 7 to face unheralded Rustam Khabilov at UFC Fight Night 42 at Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The fight will be Henderson’s second fight after losing his UFC lightweight title to Anthony “Showtime” Pettis at UFC 164. Henderson was last seen in action January 25th 2013, when he won a close and disputed split decision bout over Josh “Punk” Thompson.
But when Bendo fought Thompson, it was just two weeks after he got married. And Bendo had to take time juggling his responsibilities to his new bride and training in the gym. But after the scare against Thompson, Henderson finally took some time off with his wife as they took a much deserved vacation and honeymoon. And as Henderson said, it was great because “for three weeks, he just rested, ate and got fat.” But after the vacation, the rejuvenated Bendo went back to the gym to train like the same gym rat that he admits he is.
When Rustam Khabilov challenged Henderson via Twitter, Benson said he accepted the challenge without really knowing who the guy was. All he knew that there was this Russian fighter whom other guys were avoiding. Henderson was referring to Khabib Nurmagomedov. He honestly thought Khabilov was Khabib, without “any disrespect” to Rustam Khabilov.
Henderson was quick to point out that to be the best, he’s got to fight everybody out there whether its Khabib or Khabilov.
Khabilov is described as a tough kid with a good sambo background. He’s been training in Greg Jackson’s camp to improve his overall game especially his wrestling.
Khabilov is ranked as the #11th best lightweight by the UFC. He owns a very respectable 18-1 record with 4KOs and 5 submissions. He signed with the UFC in 2012 and has compiled a record of 3-0 with 2 KO’s. His last fight against Jorge Masvidal at UFC Fight for the Troops 3 won Fight of the Night honors after going for three back and forth rounds. Fighting Henderson is a major step up for Khabilov.
Benson Henderson was a staple of UFC lightweights. He defended the UFC lightweight belt against top caliber oppositions in Frankie Edgar, Nate Diaz and Gilbert Melendez. Henderson was at the top of his game when he was submitted by his WEC nemesis Anthony Pettis at UFC 164. Pettis also beat Henderson in the WEC’s 2010 Fight of the Year where he also took away Benson’s lightweight belt.
But aside from the two losses to Pettis, Henderson has been phenomenal in the UFC. To say that the 30 year old Henderson has a decorated record would be an understatement. He’s beaten noted fighters like Jamie Varner, Donal Cerrone, Jim Miller and Clay Guida. The only name missing from his resume is Anthony Pettis. But that wilL have to wait for now.
Pettis is currently healing an injury which he suffered during the Henderson fight. He was being groomed to fight featherweight champion Jose Aldo, but the fight did not materialize. Pettis was selected to coach TUF 20 opposite Gilbert Melendez and the two are expected to fight at latter part of the year.
With a rematch against Pettis in his mind for 2015, Benson Henderson looks to keep sharp by getting a big win on June 7.
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