Benson Henderson Puts Hold On Move To Welterweight

ben henderson

After suffering a devastating TKO loss at the hands of surging Brazilian Rafael dos Anjos last August at UFC Fight Night 49, former lightweight champion Benson “Smooth” Henderson announced that he would likely be making a move up to welterweight after his upcoming UFC Fight Night 59 bout on January 18, 2015.

Since this announcement, a lot has changed for Henderson, one thing being his opponent. Originally scheduled to take on former Bellator champion Eddie Alvarez, “Smooth” will now be taking on Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, who abruptly stepped in when Alvarez was unable to compete.

Despite getting a little bit older now at age 31 and having to endure a tougher weight cut as one of the bigger lightweights, it seems as if this may not be Henderson’s last fight at 155 pounds after all. Speaking with MMA Junkie, “Smooth” said he plans on staying in his weight class but isn’t ruling out a jump to welterweight if the right opportunity arises:

READ MORE:  Dominick Reyes scores his first win in four years, KO's Dustin Jacoby in round one - UFC Louisville Highlights

“I like ’55; I think ’55’s my weight class. If there were some good, intriguing, nice matchups at ’70, like talking about getting a title shot immediately, or ‘If you beat this guy, you get a title shot,’ I would be open to that.”

Moving up in weight for Henderson has some draw backs, one being the fact that he would be giving up the distinctive size advantage he possesses in the lightweight division. However, weight cutting has become a slight issue in MMA over the years and “Smooth” may have to decide at some point in his career if he can still healthily make the cut down to 155 pounds.

READ MORE:  Brunno Ferreira lands nasty spinning back elbow KO win over Dustin Stoltzfus after wild exchange - UFC Louisville Highlights

The former champ also knows that he would have to be more careful about his fights in the welterweight division and possibly take less risks. For example, he accepted his upcoming fight with “Cowboy” on just 13 days notice. Despite owning two wins over Cerrone, that’s a tough test for any competitor. Henderson knows that he would need a full training camp at welterweight and may have to be slightly selective when agreeing to an opponent:

“At ’55 – anybody, anytime, anywhere,” Henderson said. “I’ll fight five-round fights, eight-round fights. I don’t care sign me up. ‘Cowboy’ as the opponent, that’s all the more better. Sounds good to me.

At 170, maybe I’ve got to be a little more selective and make sure we have a full, full training camp. Can’t switch the opponent last minute and that kind of stuff. At 155, I don’t care. I was down.”

It may be a tough decision to move up in weight class, but having already suffered two defeats to current lightweight champion Anthony “Showtime” Pettis, a move up may be Henderson’s last chance to fight for a title.

READ MORE:  Video - Alex Pereira goes toe-to-toe with UFC heavyweight Tai Tuivasa in sparring session

Should the MMA Lab product stay home at lightweight, or take a risk and play his cards at welterweight?