Jun 7, 2014; Albuquerque, NM, USA; Benson Henderson (red) and Rustam Khabilov (blue) fight during their lightweight bout during UFC Fight Night 42 at Tingley Coliseum. Henderson won via fourth round submission. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Henderson issues open challenge


Shortly after disposing of Rustam Khabilov, Ben “Smooth” Henderson has made it abundantly clear that he’ll fight anyone in order to reach the pinnacle of the UFC again.

The former UFC Lightweight champion appeared on the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani this week and made no bones about his willingness to fight anyone else in the lightweight division. Henderson is currently riding a two fight winning streak on his quest back to the title.

Henderson said the following on the program:

“I can understand how people would take that, but no, I don’t have anything bad to say against Pettis. I’m not taking shots.’Shots fired, shots fired.’ I’m not taking shots at Anthony Pettis or anything like that. Truly, the belt is not being defended as many times as the it had been previously. If the belt is not being defended as it has been previously. I would like to offer an opening to all comers, since I’m the next highest rated guy, if you so chose to fight for the belt. I’m here and I am presenting myself as willing and able.

Khabilov asked to fight me; hats off to him, he’s a great guy and all that, that was a great job of him going out there and try to climb the ladder by challenging the next best guy. The guy highest up on the ladder. I don’t know if he truly thought I was going to accept or if he was doing it for the sake of doing it. Yeah, if the belt is not being defended as many times as it can be or normally is, then yeah, I will take on all the next top contenders.

Eventually, if you keep on fighting and winning, you’re going to fight for the belt. No matter what, period. It might take a year, two or three, but if you keep winning, you are going to fight for the belt. That being said, if you think you ready for the belt, a title shot, come do it with me, let’s find out.”

Long winded, but clear, Henderson is ready to do whatever it takes to get back to the UFC Lightweight title.

While UFC President Dana White hasn’t been keen on the idea of Henderson fighting current UFC Lightweight champion Anthony “Showtime” Pettis for a third time, Pettis has seemed open to the possibility.

Henderson also said last week that he plans on retiring at 33 years old.

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