Former UFC lightweight champion, Benson “Smooth” Henderson is fresh off of his rear naked choke finish against Rustam Khabilov two weeks ago at UFC Fight Night 42. Just 10 days after one of his best career performances, Henderson signed his next bout against Brazilian stalwart Rafael Dos Anjos, who picked up a TKO victory over Jason High at the same event.
Henderson and Dos Anjos will headline a UFC Fight Night event in Tulsa, Oklahoma on August 23rd. Henderson will look for his third straight victory on his path back to the title, while Dos Anjos will look to continue his impressive streak of winning six of his last seven bouts.
Once the fight announcement was made many fans and pundits alike were confused as to why Henderson was not facing off against yet another top ranked Dagestani in Khabib Nurmagomedov. Khabib is currently ranked No. 4 in the UFC’s lightweight division and is 22-0 in his professional mixed martial arts career.
A fight between Khabib and Henderson would certainly prove who is the No. 1 contender in the UFC’s lightweight division, and yet the UFC chose for Henderson to face off against Dos Anjos, who Nurmagomedov defeated by decision in April at UFC on FOX 11.
Henderson took to Twitter to explain why the UFC chose Dos Anjos over Nurmagomedov:
— Benson Henderson (@BensonHenderson) June 19, 2014
As a devout Muslim, Nurmagomedov can not fight during the month of Ramadan and likely can not prepare for a fight either. Thus the UFC was forced to bypass Nurmagomedov as they wanted Henderson to headline the event in Oklahoma.