Benson Henderson has gone on to win seven straight fights and the UFC Lightweight Championship since battling and losing to Anthony Pettis in December, 2010, but “Showtime” evidently isn’t a big fan of how the vet has been doing it. Henderson may have defeated notable opponents like Frankie Edgar, Jim Miller and Gilbert Melendez since arriving in the UFC, but because none of the wins have come via stoppage, critics have accused “Smooth” of trying to win rounds rather than finish fights.
“I’m sure he’s expecting a five-round fight,” Pettis said. “He’s the champ, and he knows he needs to win five rounds to keep that belt. GSP does it the same way. These guys are intelligent fighters, and they know they have to win the rounds to keep their belt. I’m expecting him to do what he’s been doing. He’s going to come out, do just enough to win the rounds, and keep his belt. That’s his game plan, and that’s never my game plan. I’m always looking to finish.”
“I’m not a fan of that style. I wouldn’t even try doing that. That’s just manipulating the rules of the game to keep your title. If you’re truly the best, I mean, look at Anderson Silva. He got knocked out in his last fight, but I think he’s truly the best because he’s finished some top guys, and he does it impressively. He’s not trying to grind it out and stay on top of you to win the rounds. He’s out there fighting fights. That’s what I respect, and that’s who I want to be.”
It’s certainly a line of argument that appears to be growing throughout MMA, as Demetrious Johnson has also faced such criticisms heading into his UFC on FOX 8 bout with John Moraga. It’s not easy being at the top these days, as not only do champions have to face their divisions’s top fighters on a consistent basis, but the expectations to be exciting and aggressive remain.