Former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson did not have a good night at work on Saturday (August 23, 2014), as he was finished by strikes against Rafael dos Anjos at UFC Fight Night 49. The shocking finish came in the opening stanza, and marked the first time that “Smooth” had been KO’d in a 25-fight career.
There was some talk of an early stoppage from referee John McCarthy, and Henderson spoke to MMAJunkie.com to give his side of the story:
“I just lost, but my confidence isn’t shaken. I’m still pretty healthy — I don’t know if dos Anjos is pretty healthy. We can run it back another 10 times tonight — that’s the kind of guy I am. No (it wasn’t an early stoppage) it was pretty much confirmed, everything I said inside the cage,” said Henderson, who watched a replay of the fight backstage. “It was a flash knockout. They happen. I remember dropping back in the fence — I was like, ‘Aw, that didn’t look good at all. That’s a bad thing right there.’”
As usual “Smooth” is humble, even in defeat. But what is next for the former kingpin of the deep UFC lightweight division? Indeed, it was only the third loss in four years for Henderson, and he says he hopes to learn from his mistakes against RDA:
“Everything’s a little bit different, but you can learn from your past mistakes; you can learn from your past experiences. Definitely, I’ve learned from my past experiences any time I’ve come off a loss, learning how to get better and use it as a positive and use it to help drive you toward your next seven-fight win streak and getting the belt back.”
It will be a very long road to regain that title for “Smooth”, as a loss to dos Anjos has likely set him back quite a way. He has the right attitude though, and I believe he is still capable of becoming championship material again. For now though, it’s back to the drawing board for the BJJ black belt.
Any thoughts on who Henderson should fight next? The lightweight division is always stacked full of likely future contenders, perhaps a bout with returning TJ Grant could be on the cards. Boby Green might well be a decent fight to see if Henderson still has it, what do you think?