Emotional Henderson Vows Successful Return

By Mike Whitman Dec 17, 2010
As he sat in front of the media at Thursday's post-fight news conference, former WEC lightweight titleholder Benson Henderson had tears in his eyes.

Just minutes prior, the hometown favorite had lost both his title and his opportunity to face the UFC champion in the coming year. With the fight tied at two rounds apiece on two of the three judges' scorecards, Anthony Pettis exploded in the fifth round, launching himself off the cage and landing a spectacular roundhouse kick to the side of the champion's skull.

“I don't really remember it. It was a great kick,” said an emotional Henderson. “That will probably be on highlight reels for a while, huh?”

That's a distinct possibility. Fans and media alike have been talking about the innovative maneuver from the moment it was executed in the cage. When asked if the fallen champion had ever seen anything like the kick that floored him in the past, Henderson retorted with a joke.

“I saw it in Mortal Kombat once.”

Although the ferocious kick landed solidly on Henderson's cheekbone, the champion somehow survived both the technique that floored him and the ensuing Pettis flurry. According to Henderson, he never lost his wits.

“I was fully aware [of what happened]. I had a hold of a single, but I had it the wrong way. He did a good job of holding me there, raining down shots from top,” said Henderson. “I was woozy. I’m not going to lie. But I was fully cognizant.”

WEC 53 marked the organization's last-ever show, as the promotion will be folded into the UFC in the coming year. For Henderson, a man twice awarded with “Fight of the Night” during his WEC career, his UFC career begins on a less-than-ideal note. However, the former champion was gracious in defeat.

“First off, thanks to the WEC. It was a great run with a long history,” said Henderson. “Thanks to the fans. The WEC does the best job of putting on fights [in the world]. We all try to give our best.”

For the MMA Lab representative, it's now back to the drawing board as he recovers from his first defeat since 2007.

“I've been talking it over with my coaches about why I lost. I was stepping to the inside on his jab, and I needed to step to the outside. He did a good job setting up his kicks. We've just been talking about all the wrong things I did,” said Henderson. “You know, a lot of things go into a fight. It's not just two guys punching and kicking. There's a science to it. I'll figure it out, and I will get my hand raised next time.”
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